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The Importance of Hearing
Experiencing the sounds of life is something we all take for granted. For most of us, it is only when hearing slowly diminishes that we realize how important good hearing is in our lives. The everyday sounds of birds singing, the breeze blowing, and children playing are sounds that we should be able to appreciate all our lives. But many people deprive themselves of this gift by not taking that first step for help. The gift of hearing allows us to do much more than just enjoy the qualities of sounds we hear each day. Without it, everyday life situations may become a strain. A hearing loss may create difficulties at work, in social situations or even with family members. But most of all, a hearing loss may cause you to lose confidence in yourself. If you have a hearing problem, or you suspect someone you love has a hearing problem, be informed about hearing aids and hearing instrument specialists
What is Hearing Impairment?
Hearing impairment can occur at any age, hearing loss develops slowly and painlessly. As a result, the person is often unaware of the loss of hearing until others start to notice. There are three parts to the human ear: the outer, middle and inner ear. As a sound occurs, the sound wave vibrations are conducted through the outer and middle ear to the inner ear. In the inner ear, these vibrations are converted to nerve impulses which are then transmitted to the brain. A conductive hearing loss results from obstruction or disease of the outer or middle ear. This type of hearing loss is often temporary and can usually be treated medically. Damage to the inner ear or hearing nerve results in sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is almost always permanent and normally caused by high fever, disease, excessive noise exposure, heredity or the normal aging process. Sensorineural hearing loss, usually referred to as “nerve deafness,” is often treatable with the use of hearing instruments.
- Conductive hearing loss: Sound is not conducted to the inner ear from the outer or middle ear. This type of hearing loss is often temporary and can usually be treated medically.
Otosclerosis: This is a type of conductive hearing loss. The tiny bones of the middle ear do not properly transmit sound from the eardrum to the inner ear
- Sensorineural hearing loss: The inner ear does not transmit sound properly to the brain. The tiny hair cells of the inner ear have been damaged due to age, noise or medication. They can no longer pick up sounds. This loss is permanent because the hair cells do not grow back.
- Presbycusis: The ability to hear high frequency sound deteriorates. It is the most common kind of sensorineural hearing loss and comes with aging.
- Mixed hearing loss: A combination of conductive loss and sensorineural loss.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss:
- Straining to hear conversations.
- A feeling that you can hear, but cannot understand.
- Thinking people are mumbling.
- Asking people to repeat themselves, even in a quiet setting.
- Confusing people’s words.
- Finding it necessary to watch people’s faces in order to understand what they are saying.
- Difficulty hearing softer sounds such as birds singing and water running.
- Increasing the volume of your radio or television to the point that it irritates others.
- Avoiding certain activities because it is too difficult to hear.
- Chronic ear infections, “ringing” in the ears, or dizziness.
- Family history of diabetes, heart disease, thyroid problems, poor circulation or hearing loss.