Hearing loss treatment
OK, so you might have hearing loss, but what should you do?
Don’t worry. This article covers the best hearing loss treatment options.
Let’s get started.
“The best treatment depends on what type of hearing loss you have.”
Best hearing loss treatment options
Latest hearing loss treatments
Best hearing loss treatment options
How do you know which hearing loss treatment is best for you?
First and foremost, you need to understand what type of hearing implication you are dealing with.
Hearing loss treatment can come in many shapes. It can be as simple as removing some tricky ear wax. Still, on other occasions, you need to get your hearing checked out for the possible future use of a hearing aid.
In the article, you can read more about the different types of treatments you can expect when you experience poor hearing.
Different types of hearing loss
To fully grasp your hearing loss implications, you need to understand the four types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common. It happens after suffering damage to the nerves and hair cells in the inner ear. This form of hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically treated. Hearing aids are the only solution here.
- Conductive hearing loss is an obstruction in the outer or middle ear. Something is getting in the way. This can be harmless formations such as fluid or ear wax but can also be more drastic, like tumors or growth. This type of hearing difficulty will often be possible to deal with through surgical treatment.
- Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the two. Once you get the full picture, you can start to decide on how to act.
- Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder is a hearing disorder where both the outer, middle, and inner ear work fine to detect sounds. Still, the inner ear has lost its ability to transmit sounds from the ear to the brain.
Through modern breakthroughs in medical technology, there is treatment available for all types of hearing loss. Naturally, the treatment depends on both type, cause, and severity of the hearing loss, but the quality of life can be approved for all.
Therefore make sure to get checked out through an audiologist if you have any doubts about your hearing.
Treating sensorineural hearing loss
Despite advances in modern medicine, there is no cure for sensorineural hearing loss, as this relates to the delicate hair cells in the ear. However, there are still numerous ways of dealing with incurable hearing loss.
Hearing aids can drastically improve damaged hearing and enhance the quality of life. They come in a wide range of sizes, circuitries, and with different levels of complexity. All this depends on the required sorting and cleaning that sounds require. The price tags also vary quite dramatically depending on the quality. A hearing aid consists of four things – a battery, loudspeaker, amplifier, and a microphone. This may sound simple, but the technology behind it is truly remarkable. There are different types of hearing aids, as there are different qualities. To get the best advice, always link up with an audiologist.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids (BTE) are placed outside the outer ear, making them more visible to people around you. They are more sturdy as they are not exposed to the same levels of moisture and ear wax damage.
In-the-canal hearing aids (ITC) are placed in the ear canal. While they are visible, they are placed more in hiding versus the BTE. They are made of silicone and put so that the loudspeaker can be inside the ear. The sound quality goes up on these devices, but the durability decreases.
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) devices are placed discretely inside the ear. These aids are the least visible.
Treating conductive hearing loss
For conductive hearing difficulties, treatment will be conducted through an operation. The issues related to conductive hearing loss are often obstacles blocking the pathway through the outer or middle ear. As such, medical professionals can treat it through surgery. The complications of these can vary depending on the blockage. More often than not, it can come down to a procedure as simple as removing ear wax. Throughout life, people tend to push in ear wax during their ear hygiene sessions. Removing this often happens through a small suction tool. Picture how the plumber gets a blockage out of your drains – just for dramatic purposes.
Other types of implications that can be resolved through surgical treatment are abnormalities to the eardrum or the bones of hearing (ossicles). This requires invasive surgery but will be able to address the issue at hand immediately. These abnormalities can come in the form of different growths and – in worst-case scenarios – tumors. However, it can also happen based on repeated infections. In such a scenario, a medical professional will place a small tube that drains the ears.
Treating mixed hearing loss
You might have guessed it, but mixed hearing loss treatment involves treatment methods from both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Therefore earwax removal, surgery, and hearing aids might all viable treatment options.
A hearing specialist will be able to decide the best particular hearing loss treatment for you.
Treating auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder
In terms of treating ANSD, there is still ongoing research on how to do this most effectively.
There is evidence that some might benefit from hearing aids or cochlear devices, but this is not a standard treatment method that everyone will benefit from.
However, luckily ANSD only accounts for 10-15% of all permanent hearing loss. Therefore there is still a good chance that you don’t suffer from ANSD and that you can find a treatment option for your hearing loss.
People who have severe hearing loss related to hair cell damage will most often need a cochlear implant to improve hearing. With the latest technology, these implants can filter music and background noise. This makes patients able to enjoy both music and conversation around them. Outside the ear, a speech processor filters the noises that matter from a microphone in the implant. On the inside, a receiver and stimulator are surgically placed in the bone under the skin, where signals are converted into impulses and sent through numerous electrodes. They are placed in the cochlea and sent through the nerves directly to the brain. Despite this being a more invasive surgery, it can truly help those suffering from damaged hair cells.
Latest hearing loss treatments
Due to hair cells’ sensitivity and delicacy in the inner ear, it is complicated to revert any damage. However, the medical community is now looking at gene therapy as a possible frontier to help recreate hair cells. In your ear today, there are up to 15,000 microscopic cells that transmit electrical impulses to the nerve system and the brain. This is what scientists are trying to recreate. Furthermore, scientists are working on that drug to activate a gene that allows the “supportive cells” in the inner ear to transform into “sensory cells.”
However, the drug industry is still many years away from a drug that restores your hearing. Therefore hearing aids are, in most cases, still the best hearing loss treatment option. You can learn more about how hearing aids and improved hearing can benefit many aspects of your life here.
Still in doubt?
Don’t worry. It’s not easy finding the exact right treatment for you. That’s why there are a vast number of hearing-specialists in the USA. So if you need more help, you can see our ultimate hearing loss guide.
Or even better, you can take a quick shortcut and get a hearing specialist opinion on how to improve your hearing here.