The human body is an awesome, beautiful, perplexing, confounding construction, isn’t it? The human body generally has no problem healing cuts, scratches, or broken bones (I mean, sure, it takes a while, but your body can actually heal the giant bones in your legs and arms with little more than some time and a splint).
But you won’t be so fortunate if the tiny hairs in your ears are compromised. At least, so far.
It’s truly regrettable that your body can pull off such fantastic feats of healing but can’t regenerate these little hairs. So what’s the deal?
When is Hearing Impairment Irreversible?
So, let’s get right down to it. You’re at your doctor’s office trying to digest the news he’s giving you: you’re losing your hearing. So the first question you ask is whether the hearing will ever return. And the answer is… maybe.
It’s a little anticlimactic, speaking dramatically.
But he’s not wrong. There are two primary types of hearing loss:
- Blockage induced hearing loss: You can exhibit every sign of hearing loss when your ear has some kind of obstruction. A wide range of things, from something gross (earwax) to something frightening (a tumor), can be the cause of this obstruction. The good news is that once the blockage is cleared, your hearing often goes back to normal.
- Damage related hearing loss: But hearing loss has another more common form. This kind of hearing loss, called sensorineural hearing loss, is permanent. Here’s what happens: there are little hairs in your ear that vibrate when hit with moving air (sound waves). When vibrations are transformed into signals, they are sent to the brain which makes them into the sounds you perceive. But over time, loud sounds can cause these hairs to be damaged to the point where treatment is necessary.
So here’s the main point: you can recover from one form of hearing loss and you most likely won’t know which one you’re coping with without having a hearing test.
Treating Hearing Loss
So presently there’s no “cure” for sensorineural hearing loss (although scientists are working on that). But your hearing loss still may be treatable. As a matter of fact, getting the right treatment for your hearing loss might help you:
- Prevent isolation by staying socially involved.
- Successfully manage hearing loss symptoms you might already have.
- Make sure your overall quality of life is unaffected or stays high.
- Safeguard and maintain your remaining hearing.
- Prevent mental decline.
Of the many types of treatment available, which one is correct for you depends on the seriousness of your hearing loss. One of the most common treatments is fairly simple: hearing aids.
Why Are Hearing Aids a Practical Treatment For Hearing Impairment?
Hearing aids can help you return to the people and things you enjoy. They can help you hear the conversation, your phone, your tv, or even just the birds in the park. Hearing aids can also remove some of the pressure from your brain because you will no longer be struggling to hear.
Prevention is The Best Protection
Whether you have hearing loss now or not, you need to protect your hearing from loud noises and other things that can damage your hearing (like ototoxic drugs). Hearing well is critical to your overall health and well-being. Routine hearing care, like annual hearing tests, is just another kind of self-care.