Hearing plays a major role in our quality of life, from our emotional well-being and physical health to our careers and leisure activities.
Yet millions of people who have hearing loss let it go untreated, despite research showing links between untreated hearing loss and increased risk of falls, depression, anxiety, hospitalizations and even dementia.
There are many different causes of hearing loss. It can be hereditary or just be a part of the aging process. It can be triggered by a blast of loud noise, infections, the effects of toxins or by injury. The good news: there are solutions to successfully correct most types of hearing loss. Learn about the most common risks and what you can do to prevent hearing loss.
CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS
If you have hearing problems, help is available. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your hearing loss.
- Removing wax blockage: Earwax blockage is a reversible cause of hearing loss. Your doctor may remove earwax using suction or a small tool with a loop on the end.
- Surgical procedures: Some types of hearing loss can be treated with surgery, including abnormalities of the eardrum or bones of hearing (ossicles). If you’ve had repeated infections with persistent fluid, your doctor may insert small tubes that help your ears drain.
- Hearing aids: If your hearing loss is due to damage to your inner ear, a hearing aid can be helpful. An audiologist can discuss with you the potential benefits of a hearing aid and fit you with a device. Open fit aids are currently the most popular, due to fit and features offered.
- Cochlear implants: If you have more severe hearing loss and gain limited benefit from conventional hearing aids, then a cochlear implant may be an option. Unlike a hearing aid that amplifies sound and directs it into your ear canal, a cochlear implant bypasses damaged or nonworking parts of your inner ear and directly stimulates the hearing nerve. An audiologist, along with a medical doctor who specializes in disorders of the ears, nose and throat (ENT), can discuss the risks and benefits.