Did you know that half of the cases of hearing impairment could have been prevented? Lend an ear to recommendations for good auditory health.
The causes of hearing impairment
Hearing contributes greatly to our communication skills and any hearing loss has important repercussions on the life of the sufferer. But what are the causes and do effective prevention methods exist?
We talk about hearing loss when a person is not able to hear as well as a person with normal hearing. Hearing loss doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. It can be mild, moderate, severe, or profound and can affect one or both ears. Hearing impairment has many causes that can be divided into two categories: congenital causes (hearing impairment present at birth) and acquired causes. Here are a few examples for each category:
- certain infections affecting the mother during pregnancy (syphilis, rubella, etc.);
- oxygen deprivation at birth;
- use of certain drugs during pregnancy;
- severe jaundice in the newborn;
- certain infections (meningitis, mumps, rubella, etc.);
- chronic ear infections;
- the use of certain drugs;
- head or ear injury;
- age-related hearing loss;
The signs of hearing loss
Hearing loss can take different forms. However, there are a few signs indicative of hearing impairment that you should be aware of, such as:
- making people repeat what they say often, especially when there’s noise;
- repeating instructions incorrectly or answering questions inappropriately;
- speaking loudly;
- not reacting when spoken to;
- having problems with diction;
- being criticized for having the television or music on too loudly;
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering from hearing loss, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Screening and early intervention could be beneficial for many people who have the problem.
The most important consequence of hearing loss is related to the ability to communicate with others. No matter what the cause, someone with hearing loss tends to be isolated.
Prevention and treatment
Most cases of hearing impairment could have been prevented by adopting well-known and effective preventive measures, such as:
- vaccinating children against childhood diseases;
- vaccinating women in their childbearing years against rubella;
- screening and treating infections in pregnant women which can give rise to hearing impairment;
- avoiding medications that can cause hearing impairment (ask your pharmacist for help);
- minimizing exposure to excessive noise;
Fortunately, people with hearing impairment can improve their condition through the use of hearing aids, assistive devices, and cochlear implants. Hearing aids are devices that are worn on the ear to amplify sounds. There are different models. Assistive devices help people with hearing loss in their daily lives. Several types of assistive devices are available, such as those that amplify the sound of a television or radio. Lastly, cochlear implants are electronic devices that are surgically implanted in the ear and under the skin to stimulate the auditory nerve for the perception of sound.
If you think that you suffer from hearing impairment, talk to your doctor about it without delay. The doctor can perhaps refer to you an auditory health expert, such as an ear-nose-and-throat specialist, audiologist, or audioprosthetist. These professionals can evaluate your auditory health and tell you about different tools and hearing aids as well the various financial assistance programs available.
Hearing is probably one of the most useful and extraordinary senses that human beings have. It enables us to be in communication with this wonderful world that surrounds us. No matter what your age, it is important to lend an ear to your auditory health!