Your Body’s Capacity to Recover
While some wounds take longer to heal than others, the human body usually has no issue mending cuts, scrapes, or broken bones. But when it comes to fixing the tiny little hairs in your ear, you’re out of luck. At least, so far. Animals are capable of healing damage to the cilia in their ears and get their hearing back, but humans don’t have that ability (even though scientists are working on it). What that means is, if you damage these hairs or the hearing nerve, you may have permanent hearing loss.
At What Point Does Hearing Loss Become Irreversible?
The first question you think of when you find out you have loss of hearing is, will I get it back? And the response is, it depends. There are two fundamental kinds of loss of hearing:
- Hearing loss caused by damage: But around 90 percent of hearing loss is accounted for by another, more common cause. Known medically as sensorineural hearing loss, this form of hearing loss is often permanent. Here’s how it works: When hit by moving air (sound waves), tiny little hairs in your ears move. Your brain is good at changing these vibrations into the sounds you hear. But loud noises can damage the hairs and, over time, permanently diminish your hearing. Damage to the inner ear or nerve can also cause sensorineural hearing loss. In some cases, especially in instances of severe hearing loss, a cochlear implant might help improve hearing.
- Obstruction based loss of hearing: When there’s something blocking your ear canal, you can exhibit all the signs of hearing loss. This blockage can be caused by a wide variety of things, from debris to earwax to tumors. Your hearing usually returns to normal once the obstruction is cleared, and that’s the good news.
Whether hearing aids will help restore your hearing can only be figured out by getting a hearing examination.
Treatment of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss currently has no cure. But it might be possible to get treatment for your loss of hearing. The following are some ways that getting the correct treatment can help you:
- Keep isolation away by staying socially engaged.
- Make sure your general quality of life is unaffected or remains high.
- Successfully deal with any of the symptoms of hearing loss you may be experiencing.
- Preserve and protect the hearing you have left.
- Prevent mental decline.
This treatment can take many forms, and it’ll normally depend on how extreme your loss of hearing is. One of the most common treatments is fairly simple: hearing aids.
How is Hearing Loss Treated by Hearing Aids
People with hearing loss can use hearing aids to perceive sounds and work as efficiently as possible. When your hearing is hampered, the brain strains to hear, which can fatigue you. Over time the lack of sensory input has been connected with a greater danger of cognitive decay. By allowing your ears to hear again, hearing aids help you restore mental function. As a matter of fact, wearing hearing aids has been shown to slow cognitive decline by as much as 75%. Modern day hearing aids will also allow you to pay attention to what you want to hear, and tune out background sounds.
Prevention is The Best Defense
If you get one thing from this little lesson, hopefully, it’s this: you can’t count on recovering from hearing loss, so instead you should focus on safeguarding the hearing you’ve got. Certainly, you can have any blockages in your ear removed. But that doesn’t decrease the danger from loud sounds, noises you might not even consider to be loud enough to be all that harmful. That’s why taking the time to safeguard your ears is a good plan. If you are inevitably diagnosed with loss of hearing, you will have more treatment options if you take steps today to safeguard your hearing. Recovery won’t likely be an option but treatment can help you keep living a great, full life. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert to decide what your best option is.