Saturday, June 14, 2008
Hearing loss and hearing aids
The most common causes of hearing loss are noise and ageing.
Here, you can find information about the different types of hearing loss and some of the most common diseases which cause hearing impairments. You can find information about the social and psychological consequences of hearing loss, and you can read about noise, sound and one of our most incredible organs - the ear.Furthermore, you can read about the various types of hearing aids and other technical equipment and review the conditions and regulations governing the dispensing of hearing aids in different countries.
Treating hearing loss
Some types of hearing loss can be cured, others can be remedied.Most conductive hearing loss, which occurs in the outer or middle ear, can be cured - either by medical treatment or through surgery. Conductive hearing loss is often temporary, e.g. when due to earwax. But it is important to seek medical assistance before the ear suffers permanent damage.
Sensorineural hearing loss, however, cannot be cured, but hearing aids or a cochlear implant can help. Sensorineural hearing loss is due to problems in the inner ear and is most often the result of damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea. Some types of sensorineural hearing loss are inherited.If your child is suffering from sensorineural hearing loss, you must ensure that hearing aids are provided. They do not restore your child's hearing, but will help your child benefits to the fullest from the remaining hearing ability.Another remedy to sensorineural hearing loss may be a cochlear implant. This is surgically implanted in some cases of profound hearing loss and deafness. A cochlear implant is a device that transforms sound into electronic impulses which are then transmitted to the cochlear in the inner ear.
Noise - damaging your hearing and your well-beingSurveys indicate that noise is the main reason for bad hearing among adults. Noise is all around us at most hours of the day, often resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus.
Many countries recommend a daily exposure to noise levels of less than 85 dB, but from time to time we are all exposed to higher noise levels than the highest recommended levels.Daily exposure to excessive noise in the workplace is the primary factor in many cases of hearing loss in the working population. In Germany, for example, there are more than 6,000 new cases of work related hearing loss a year. Teachers, construction workers and farmers are among those most at risk of suffering work related hearing damage.But the dangers extend way beyond the workplace. At home and at play you find further risks of hearing damage. The increased noise levels in our daily life also make tinnitus widespread. More and more incidents of hearing loss and tinnitus are reported among young people and others with high levels of noise consumption. In these pages you will find useful information about the impact of noise on our hearing, how little it takes to cause permanent damage, and what you can do to protect your hearing.
How to protect your ears from noise
The best defense against noise-induced hearing loss is to stay out of hazardous noise areas. But when spending any amount of time in a noisy environment, use hearing protection devices.
When used correctly, Hearing protection devices (HPDs) help prevent hearing loss. And always remember, that the discomfort of wearing them, if any, is nothing compared to the permanent effects and discomfort of a hearing impairment or a worsened hearing loss. Using earplugs or earmuffs can be effective measures to protect your hearing in noisy environments at work or at play. In addition, handcrafted custom-fitted ear molds with filters are available, often at considerable cost, but well worth the price for those who wear hearing protection frequently.
DO NOT expect any meaningful hearing protection from wearing headphones. In fact, drowning out toxic noise with stereo headphones may be counterproductive. These devices alone can generate equivalent noise exposures up to approximately 100 dB.
DO NOT expect any benefit from such non-standard earplugs as cotton, cigarette filters, putty, gum and even empty bullet casings (on the shooting range). They present multiple risks to your hearing because they don't effectively attenuate sound, they are uncomfortable and they are unhygienic.
DO use a clean finger tip in a noise emergency. When forced tightly into the ear canal fingertips do provide good protection.
Hearing loss is deterioration in hearing. Deafness is profound hearing loss.
Hearing loss, which becomes more common among older people, has many causes, most notably noise exposure.
Audiometry defines the extent and characteristics of hearing loss.
Most hearing loss is not treatable except with hearing aids and, rarely, surgery