Types and causes of hearing loss
What is hearing loss?
Hearing loss is a significant hearing loss that makes it difficult for a person to communicate with other people. If the hearing loss is severe, then the person hears only very loud sounds near the ear. If the hearing loss is mild, then the person does not hear well the speech uttered in a whisper. The reasons for the development of hearing loss can be various inflammatory processes of the middle ear (scars, adhesions), infectious diseases (measles, scarlet fever, flu, syphilis), various poisoning (lead, mercury, carbon monoxide). Another possible cause of hearing loss is the uncontrolled intake of certain medications (most often antibiotics).
The development of persistent hearing loss is possible after traumatic brain injury, after prolonged exposure to noise and vibration. It appears in hypertension, atherosclerosis, as well as in old age in violation of the blood supply to the inner ear. Hearing loss can develop gradually, along with the course of the underlying disease and the deterioration of the patient's condition, although with certain diseases (for example, Meniere's disease) or with a blockage of the ear canal with a sulfur plug, it develops unexpectedly and is rather difficult to perceive.
Causes of hearing loss
With age, tangible changes occur in the human body: the hair becomes gray, the acuity of hearing and vision weakens. Therefore, one of the inevitable causes of deafness is, of course, age-related changes. As statistics show, in the age group from 50 to 60 years of people with hearing impairment about 20%, in the group from 60 to 70 years, this number increases to 30%. More than 40% of people over 70 are hearing impaired.
The next reason for deafness, which occurs mainly at a younger age, is the incredible sounds that surround us in modern life. These sounds are everywhere, and many of them are almost impossible to avoid (for example, the roar of city traffic or airplanes, the roar of trains). Of course, there are also hearing-damaging sounds that can be avoided. This is music at discos, concerts, the impact of players. Not everyone is aware of the fact that loud sound can kill sensory cells, which, unlike other cells, cannot be repaired. An explosion or shot at close range can also cause hearing loss. In enterprises where equipment is constantly humming, it is advised to use protective equipment to preserve hearing. If loud noise is exposed to hearing for a long time,an occupational disease, deafness, gradually develops.
Severe shock, viral infection, taking antibiotics, ear diseases - all these can cause deafness. There is such a problem as sulfur plug, you should know that it can be easily eliminated. In other cases, surgery will help to restore hearing. If the problem is so complex that medicine cannot help, then hearing aids will help.
Types of hearing loss
In medicine, conductive and sensorineural deafness are distinguished.
Conductive deafness - a person has impaired sound conductivity. Often, this type of deafness is treated with medications or surgery. The most important reason for this deafness is a decrease in the amplitude of oscillations of the tympanic membrane. This process can be triggered by the accumulation of fluid or pus in the middle ear cavity behind the tympanic membrane or a blockage of the auditory tube, formed due to adenoids or nasopharyngeal infection. If the cause of conductive deafness is damage to the auditory ossicles, they are replaced with ceramic or plastic prostheses.
Sensorineural deafness - hearing loss due to the inability of the cochlea to change mechanical vibrations into auditory nerve impulses or due to impaired transmission of impulses from the cochlea to the brain. The fine hair cells of the cochlea are responsible for the transformation of impulses, they can be damaged due to strong noise that is applied for a long time. The causes of the same violation can be the intake of antibiotics or other medications and the transferred severe infectious diseases. Most often, sensorineural deafness develops in the elderly. In the worst case, this type of deafness develops when a brain tumor presses on the auditory nerve.
Today, there are many programs for the rehabilitation of patients with complete or partial hearing loss. If deafness cannot be cured with medical methods, the doctor will help you choose a hearing aid. If there is an opportunity to recover, the doctor will prescribe a course of treatment.
Sulfur plug is an accumulation of earwax in the external auditory canal due to the high secretion of the sulfuric glands located in it. Usually, the occurrence of a sulfur plug is not at all a sign of sloppiness. The reasons for the formation of a plug can be the following circumstances: high viscosity of earwax, a narrow winding external auditory canal, irritation of the walls of the ear canal, penetration of foreign bodies of a powdery consistency (flour, dust, cement, etc.) into the ear canal. First, the sulfur plug is soft, then it becomes dense, even stony, light yellow or dark brown in color.
The person does not feel any inconvenience until the sulfur plug completely closes the ear canal. When the auditory canal is tightly closed with an auditory plug, there is a feeling of ear congestion, hearing loss (hearing loss), as well as the resonance of one's own voice in the congested ear (autophony). These disorders can appear unexpectedly if water enters the ear canal while bathing or washing the head, as a result of which the plug swells and closes the ear canal. Brushing your ear with a sharp object can do the same thing. Sulfur plug can cause other disorders due to pressure on the walls of the ear canal and the eardrum. Subsequently, coughing, dizziness and noises in the ear may begin.
If you are concerned about similar troubles, then you should visit a specialist. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe some procedures that will soften the cork. Of course, this increases the hearing loss, but this should not worry the patient. Under no circumstances should you yourself, using sharp objects (such as pins, matches), try to remove sulfur plugs or earwax, as this can damage the eardrum and the walls of the external auditory canal.
Article author: Mochalov Pavel Alexandrovich | d. m. n. therapist
Education: Moscow Medical Institute. IM Sechenov, specialty - "General Medicine" in 1991, in 1993 "Occupational Diseases", in 1996 "Therapy".