Hearing loss is a medical disorder that affects nearly 36 million adults in the United States. Impaired hearing may be caused by many things. Older people are the largest group affected by hearing loss. The contributors range from excessive noise, drugs, viral or bacterial infections, head injury or head tumors, stroke, and heredity. One in three older adults over age 60 has hearing loss. Nearly half of people ages 75 to 85 have hearing loss. There are two basic types of hearing loss. Conductive Hearing Loss (CHL) happens when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that blocks sound from traveling to your inner ear. Often this is caused by wax build-up, fluid in the ears, a perforated eardrum, or damage to the bones in your ears. Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SHL) happens when there is a problem in the inner ear that prevents sound from traveling to the cochlea or the auditory nerve. This can be caused by trauma, aging, disease, or being exposed to loud noise.
Treatment for hearing loss:
Surgery: In some patients, hearing loss can be surgically corrected by restoring and reconstructing the ear. This may be the case for patients with chronic infections of the ear, perforations of the eardrum, ear exostoses removal, or otosclerosis. Cochlear implantation and implanted hearing devices are also possible for profound hearing loss or when there is complete hearing loss in one ear.
Hearing aids: In many cases, hearing aids are a good option, as these have become smaller and more sophisticated over the last few years. Hearing aids work by magnifying sound vibrations as they enter your ear, so the sounds are louder. This can make it easier to hear quiet sounds, but it can also help you hear people talking even when there is a lot of noise around you. Your hearing aids will have volume controls, so you can turn the sound up or down as you need to. Your hearing aids will be fitted for your ears, and they will be adjusted so you can hear more clearly. There are different kinds of hearing aids to fit your needs and your budget. They have become smaller and more advanced over the last several years, and range from small aids that fit behind the ear, to devices that fit completely within the canal.