Part 6 in a series of articles from Maryville University.
Original Article Here: https://online.maryville.edu/blog/hearing-loss-types/#3-types-hearing-loss
Image Source: Healthy Hearing
The negative impacts of both gradual and sudden hearing loss make seeking treatment important. People experiencing hearing loss should contact a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosing gradual and sudden hearing loss
Medical professionals may perform a number of tests to diagnose hearing loss. Among the diagnostic procedures the Mayo Clinic lists are the following:
A physician may check the ear for potential causes of hearing loss, including earwax or inflammation. The exam also evaluates possible structural problems.
Although not as accurate as some other tests, whisper tests are another hearing loss screening option. The test requires the patient to cover one ear at a time to check hearing of sounds at different volumes. Hearing loss screening procedures also could include balance tests, an MRI, or a blood test.
Mobile application tests
Mobile apps such as the World Health Organization’s hearWHO tool allow individuals to test themselves for hearing loss.
Tuning fork tests
Tuning fork tests use two-pronged metal instruments that make sounds when someone strikes them. These tests can help diagnose not only hearing loss but its cause in the ear.
Audiologists, medical professionals who diagnose and treat hearing and balance conditions, may conduct audiometer tests. During the test, the audiologist places earphones on a patient to evaluate whether the individual can hear sounds and words in each ear.
Treating gradual and sudden hearing loss
Gradual and sudden hearing loss treatments range from medical approaches to changes in lifestyle.
Removing wax blockage
Medical professionals can remove earwax with suction. They also can use a tool that removes the wax with a loop.
Surgery can treat eardrum and bone malformations. In cases of multiple ear infections, the physician may insert tubes to drain fluid from the ears.
Hearing aids can treat hearing loss caused by inner ear damage. An audiologist can provide information about this option and different styles of hearing aids. Open-fit hearing aids, for example, open the ear canal to allow low-frequency sounds to enter the ear as usual and high-frequency sounds to be amplified.
Severe hearing loss may call for cochlear implants, electrodes that stimulate the hearing nerve. Audiologists and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists provide information about risks and benefits of this approach.
The most common sudden hearing loss treatment is corticosteroids. Corticosteroids reduce swelling and fight inflammation. Physicians often prescribe corticosteroid pills or give shots directly to the ear.
Antibiotic or anti-fungal treatment
Some underlying causes of hearing loss, such as ear infections, may be treatable with antibiotic or antifungal medication.
Infants and children can receive early intervention through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This federal legislation calls for assistance that can aid development of speech, language, and social skills in children under the age of 3.
Hearing loss resources
Those experiencing hearing loss — or caring for someone who is — can turn to these resources for information and support.
- AG Bell works around the world to provide support, information, and resources to help people with hearing loss hear and speak.
- The Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) is a resource center for information, referrals, help, and support groups for individuals who became deaf or began experiencing hearing loss as adults.
- Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) represents individuals with hearing loss, offering programs and events to help them live successfully.
Explore hearing loss types and treatments
The prevalence of hearing loss does not lessen its potential severity or its many negative effects, so seeking medical attention quickly is crucial. Learning the details about the types of hearing loss — sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss — and their treatment can help identify potential issues before they lead to more serious consequences.