A few months ago, a family friend had a baby. Of course we all rejoiced. A month after the baby was born, we were worried about her lack of reaction to sounds. Babies generally use their hearing to absorb the world around them. And hearing helps them learn language as it stimulates brain development. That is why doctors check babies for hearing loss at every visit so that they can identify problems and take action as soon as possible.
Hearing loss and impairment can be due to genetic issues, disease, infection, trauma or environmental factors. There are many types of hearing loss that develop as a result of these factors and others. Here is information on some common types of hearing loss, how they develop, how they can be prevented and often treated. This is followed by tips to take care of your ear health so you can keep your hearing intact for as long as possible.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), or sensory hearing loss, is a product of inner ear or hearing nerve damage. Prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause SNHL, as well as head trauma and a variety of conditions and diseases. Depending on the severity, there are various treatments to help people who experience SNHL. Hearing aids, medicine, surgery and ear implants may be used to treat SNHL.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can occur when there is something blocking or disrupting the sound in the ear canal and/or in the middle ear (ear drum and middle ear bones). This is called a conductive hearing loss as it impacts the conduction or pathway of the sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. It often results in a person reporting that sound is softer than it ideally should be. Treatment for a conductive hearing loss will depend on the pathology and severity of the hearing loss. It may include assistive listening devices, hearing aids or implantable hearing devices. Click here to learn more.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss refers to a hearing loss that combines a sensorineural hearing loss (inner ear issue) with a conductive hearing loss (an issue with the outer and/or middle ear).
How to Take Care of Your Ear Health?
With many forms of hearing loss attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors, just a little effort can preserve ear health and prevent incremental hearing loss over time.
Loud noises in busy streets, construction sites, and entertainment settings like concerts and even personal headphones can lead to hearing loss over time, or all at once if the sound is loud and acute. Try to limit time near noisy areas or wear ear plugs, whenever possible. Monitor the noise level while listening to headphones and home theater equipment. Parents should always be aware of any potential loud noises that can harm a child’s ears. If you suspect hearing loss developing in yourself or a family member, seek medical attention right away!.
I am glad to report that the family friend’s baby will recover soon, thanks to the alertness of the parents.