Many people suffer from hearing loss in the United States, experiencing varying degrees ranging from mild to profound. Some are born deaf while others lose theirs due to extended exposure to loud noises or with age. While it can be challenging to deal with, there are many resources and medical options to help restore hearing or at the very least make it less challenging to live your day to day life.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss itself is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s not always just losing the ability to take in sound that defines this medical condition. For some, experiencing nerve damage leads to hearing loss. When this happens, the brain is unable to process the noises you hear or words that are spoken, making it difficult to communicate. Many people actually develop a talent for speechreading as a result of nerve damage.
Side Effects of Hearing Loss
There are many different side effects that come with hearing loss. For many, muffled speech and sounds is the first clue that something is wrong. Tinnitus, known as that ringing, humming or clicking sound in your ears, is another side effect though it can easily be managed with various tinnitus relief options. If you suspect that you’re suffering from hearing loss, it’s important to see an audiologist. They can run specific hearing tests to gauge your ability and offer solutions to help manage.
Hearing Aids can Improve Quality of Life
When your hearing loss starts affecting your daily life, it may be time to invest in hearing aids. They provide amplification, boosting your hearing to normal or manageable levels.
Like the different types of hearing loss, there are different types of hearing aids that can help improve your quality of life. In-ear models work well for those who have a mild loss. They’re discreet and tucked away, making them a good fit if you’re looking to keep your loss a secret. Behind-the-ear models, or BTE as they’re referred to by audiologists, offer higher amplification levels designed for people who have moderate to profound loss. You can also opt for digital or analog models, though the latter is being phased out slowly as digital hearing aids tend to offer more advanced technology.
Severe Hearing Loss
For those who are completely or profoundly deaf, cochlear implants offer a way to restore sound. They’re not classified as hearing aids as they require surgery to attach them, and they’re permanent fixtures rather than removable like in-ear or behind-the-ear aids. Rather than amplify sound, cochlear implants work to directly stimulate the nerves responsible for delivering sound to your brain. Tests have shown that when implanted in those with profound loss, they perform better when the surgery’s done at a young age. There is some risk with the surgery and a thorough consultation is required before you can take this step.
Hearing is a vital part of everyday life and suffering through loss can be challenging. It’s important to note, however, that there are many different medical options available and as time passes, more developments hold promising results.