Most Types of Hearing Impairment are Correctable
Not only are many forms of even quite severe hearing impairment readily correctable today, but some forms are also preventable when taking appropriate action or precautions. For instance most of those reading this article will, at some time, have suffered from an ear infection particularly during their younger years when this may have accounted for most visits to the family doctor. Incidentally, the outward signs of infection can be quite hard to spot in infants but any redness of the ear and tendency to keep touching it needs investigating.
The symptoms experience may vary quite considerably but will quite often include intense pain and, almost always, some degree of deafness accompanied a ringing or whistling in the affected ear known as tinnitus. Where the vestibular stem, the organ within the middle ear responsible for maintaining balance is affected there may also be marked dizziness.
A weeklong course of a suitable antibiotic is normally all that will be required do the trick and the affected ear should typically begin to regain its normal auditory function quite soon after commencing treatment. The implications may be more serious, however, in cases where these acute attacks tend to recur frequently. These repeated infections can lead to a chronic condition in which the reduced capacity to hear clearly may become permanent without more radical intervention that may extend to some form of surgery.
It is also worth noting that certain systemic infections of childhood such as mumps and measles are also implicated as a possible cause of permanent hearing impairment. Perversely, some of the antibiotics used to treat infections can, along with numerous other types of medication, have the same result in certain subjects. The deafness due to the latter can, in many cases, often be reversed by simply withdrawing the offending treatment and replacing it with an alternative.
All of the causes of decreased auditory efficiency that have been described so far affect the ability of the outer and/or middle ear to conduct external sounds to the hair-like cells located within the Cochlea. These provide the sensory function of the inner ear and are responsible for converting the incoming mechanical vibrations into electrical impulses that will then be carried by the auditory nerve to the brain.
Both the conductive form of deafness and that which occurs as a result of damaged or absent hair cells in the cochlea may benefit from the use of a suitable hearing aid. The so-called sensorineural form, however, can often be too profound for an external amplification device and may require the surgical implantation of a special device designed to act as a substitute for the function of the cochlear hair cells. The same device, however, may also prove to be more effective in some patients with severe conductivity deafness.
Where the auditory dysfunction appears to be irreversible, it is essential to seek more specialised advice and, this will inevitably involve a thorough examination by an audiologist. The Ear Institute clinics offer this professional healthcare service which is designed to confirm and to quantify the extent of the condition and to evaluate the appropriate course of intervention. These centres offer sound advice and support with adapting to chosen solution. Visiting The Ear Institute could prove to be life-changing for someone with hearing impairment.