Hearing loss, aka deafness, is a sense ability you could be born without or lose as you age. Deaf hearing is variously classified as complete or partial, congenital or acquired, conductive or sensorineural, reversible or irreversible.
Sound is conducted and then transmitted. As such, a loss of hearing will be caused by a failure of one or both of these hearing mechanisms. And deafness may be a loss of only certain sounds or the whole shebang.
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a mechanical problem in your ear. Transmission hearing loss is mostly caused by a problem with tiny nerve endings in your inner ear, referred to as sensorineural hearing loss. Deafness caused by a mechanical problem can often be corrected. Whereas, if your nerve cell endings die or are damaged, then it’s likely a permanent loss.
Yet, what may matter most in all this deaf talk is whether aid is needed because you’re incapable of hearing a sound or going deaf via presbycusis. Presbycusis is gradual hearing loss as you grow old.
If you were born deaf, then the cause is either for a genetic or congenital reason. A preventable cause for children to lose their hearing is otitis media due to an infectious disease, like one of these:
Generally, this hearing loss is usually conductive and temporary. Yet, repetitive infections can cause you to end up with deaf hearing permanently.
- ethacrynic acid ~ diuretic
- aminoglycoside antibiotics
- quinidine ~ treats arrhythmia
- chloroquine ~ treat, prevent malaria
In some cases this hearing loss is reversible.
Examples of some traumatic causes for going deaf :
- brain injury
- skull fracture
- perforation of eardrum
- barotrauma ~ pressure changes
- acoustic ~ explosions, fireworks, gunfire, rock concerts, earphones
There is no known single cause for presbycusis. Although, your genes, repeated exposure to loud noise and smoking may have contributed to you going deaf. And a primary symptom that deaf hearing might be in your near future is tinnitus. Albeit not always.
A couple other causes for permanent or temporary deafness include:
- ear wax buildup
- Fanconi anemia
- Paget’s disease
- Refsum disease
- temporal arteritis
- Meniere’s disease
- Hughes syndrome
- mercury poisoning
- Chiari malformation
- conversion disorder
- autonomic neuropathy
- blocked Eustachian tubes
- Wegener’s granulomatosis
- acoustic neuroma ~ benign tumor
For wax buildup hearing loss you may be able to gently flush it out using an ear syringe containing warm water. Or if this doesn’t work, try using a wax softener for your hard and impacted earwax.
There is no known cure for presbycusis and other causes for sensorineural hearing loss. But hearing aids can help improve your ability to function. A hearing aid is an electronic device that magnifies sound vibrations.
Hearing aids work differently depending on the type of electronics used. The two main types of electronics are analog and digital.
Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals, which are amplified. Whereas, digital hearing aids convert sound waves into numerical codes before amplifying them. The analog type is typically the least expensive of the two.