Hearing impairment, deafness, or hearing loss refers to the complete or partial inability to hear sounds. Symptoms of hearing impairment or deafness in a person may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. A person with mild hearing inability may have trouble understanding regular speech, especially if there is a lot of noise around. People with severe deafness rely on lipreading entirely to be able to communicate with others. Profoundly deaf people are totally reliant on lipreading or sign language to communicate with others.
Difference between hearing loss, deafness, and profound deafness
It is important to know the difference between hearing loss, deafness, and profound deafness to understand the severity of impairment suffered.
Hearing loss is the reduced ability in people to be able to hear sounds audible to other people with normal hearing.
Deafness is the condition when people cannot hear a normal speech by hearing despite amplifying sound.
Profound deafness is the complete lack of hearing ability and is totally deaf to a large spectrum of sounds.
The severity of hearing impairment is categorised by how loud a volume of sound needs to be set before a person can detect the sound.
CARE Hospitals offer a wide spectrum of diagnosis and treatment services for patients with different medical needs. Our multidisciplinary staff consisting of ENT medical and surgical specialists are well experienced and dedicated to providing the best services to the patients for complete treatment and post-operative recovery.
Some of the circumstances which can cause deafness are given as follows:
Sickle cell disease
Some types of cancer
Exposure to passive smoking
Treatment of tuberculosis, streptomycin (it is believed to be a key risk factor)
The inner ear in humans is the home of some of the most delicate bones in the body, damage to these bones can result in a spectrum of hearing loss and deafness ranges.
The symptoms of any type of hearing impairment depend on the underlying cause. Some people are dead congenitally while some others may become deaf due to trauma, injury, or accidents. Sometimes, deafness may be progressive. In fact, some medical conditions may have hearing loss as a symptom, such as a stroke or tinnitus.
ENT specialists at CARE Hospitals take immense care to provide proper diagnosis of the type and level of hearing loss in patients of all ages, ranging from infants to the older population. The patient may be asked questions about medical history or history of trauma, injury or accident involving the ears, or the beginning of hearing problems or pain in the ears. Physical examination of the ears may also be done to detect one or more of the following conditions:
Blockage caused by foreign elements
Excessive accumulation of earwax
Infection in the ear canal
Infection in the middle ear in case a bulge is seen in the eardrum
Fluid in the ear canal
Hole in the eardrum
The general screening test may also be performed by covering one ear and asking the patient to describe how well they can hear words. Other methods of screening include the use of a tuning fork, an audiometer test, and a bone oscillator test.
Treatments for hearing loss
Treatment of hearing impairment depends on the cause and severity of hearing loss. They include:
A hearing aid is a wearable device that assists in hearing. There are several types of hearing aids custom designed for patients with different levels of hearing loss. Therefore, hearing aids come in a wide range of sizes, circuits, and power levels. Hearing aids do not cure deafness but aid in hearing sounds better by amplifying the sounds entering the ears of the wearer, thus, the patient can hear more clearly. It is not suitable for patients with profound deafness. Our specialists take special care to make sure the device fits well and can be adjusted according to the auditory needs of the patient.
A patient with a functional eardrum and middle ear, a cochlear implant may be beneficial for hearing impairment. A cochlear implant is a thin electrode device that is inserted into the cochlea and stimulates electricity through a tiny microprocessor placed under the skin behind the ear. A cochlear implant is inserted to help patients with hearing impairment caused by air cell damage in the cochlea. These implants also aid speech comprehension.
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