Your Body’s Ability to Recover
The human body usually can heal scrapes, cuts, and broken bones, even though some injuries take longer than others. But when it comes to repairing the tiny little hairs in your ear, you’re out of luck. So far, at least. Animals are able to heal damage to the cilia in their ears and recover their hearing, but humans don’t possess that ability (although scientists are working on it). What that means is, if you injure these hairs or the hearing nerve, you could have irreversible loss of hearing.
At What Point Does Loss of Hearing Become Irreversible?
When you find out you have hearing loss, the first thing that most people ask is will I get it back? And the response is, it depends. Basically, there are two kinds of hearing loss:
- Loss of hearing caused by an obstruction: You can experience all the signs of hearing loss when there is something obstructing your ear canal. Debris, earwax, and tumors are just a few of the things that can cause an obstruction. Your hearing generally returns to normal after the obstruction is cleared, and that’s the good news.
- Loss of hearing caused by damage: But there’s another, more common kind of hearing loss that makes up around 90 percent of hearing loss. This sort of hearing loss, which is usually irreversible, is known as sensorineural hearing loss. This is how it works: there are tiny hairs in your ear that move when hit with moving air (sound waves). Your brain is good at changing these vibrations into the sounds you hear. But loud sounds can damage the hairs and, over time, permanently diminish your hearing. Injury to the inner ear or nerve can also cause sensorineural hearing loss. In certain cases, specifically in instances of severe loss of hearing, a cochlear implant might help restore hearing.
A hearing examination will help you determine whether hearing aids will help restore your hearing.
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 appropriate treatment can help you:
- Make sure your all-around quality of life is unaffected or remains high.
- Stop mental decline.
- Stay engaged socially, keeping isolation away.
- Protect and preserve the hearing you have left.
- Successfully deal with any of the symptoms of hearing loss you might be suffering from.
This treatment can take many forms, and it’ll usually depend on how extreme your loss of hearing is. One of the most common treatments is pretty simple: hearing aids.
Why Are Hearing Aids an effective Treatment for Hearing Loss?
People who have hearing loss can use hearing aids to perceive sounds and perform as effectively as possible. When your hearing is hindered, the brain strains to hear, which can exhaust you. As scientist gain more knowledge, they have identified a greater danger of cognitive decline with a persistent lack of cognitive input. By permitting your ears to hear again, hearing aids help you restore mental function. In fact, wearing hearing aids has been shown to slow cognitive decline by as much as 75%. Modern hearing aids can also allow you to concentrate on what you want to hear, and tune out background noises.
The Best Defense Is Prevention
Hopefully, if you get one thing from this knowledge, it this: you should protect the hearing you’ve got because you can’t count on recovering from hearing loss. Sure, if you have something blocking your ear canal, more than likely you can have it cleared. But that doesn’t mitigate the risk from loud sounds, noises you might not even think are loud enough to be all that harmful. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to take the time to safeguard your ears. If you are inevitably diagnosed with hearing loss, you will have more treatment possibilities if you take steps today to protect your hearing. Treatment can help you live a great, full life even if recovery isn’t an option. To determine what your best choice is, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist.