While the simple answer to this question is no, as disappointing as this is, it is important to understand that hearing loss is treatable, and treating hearing loss brings significant benefits.
While loss of hearing cannot be cured it can in fact be treated. The other side of that coin is that untreated hearing loss can actually compound over time. But how do you know if you have suffered any loss of hearing? Have you ever had a light, almost distant ringing in your ears? This is a loss of hearing, you have lost the ability to hear a certain frequency. This ringing, known as tinnitus, is set at a certain frequency which you can no longer hear, even though you cannot tell the difference among that specific frequency and any others consciously.
Three Types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of loss of hearing. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the nerves of the inner ear are damaged and therefore do not transmit signals to the brain properly. It is commonly caused by the withering of the hair cells within the inner ear as a result of age, though it can also be caused by noise damage or medications.
Conductive hearing loss is generally caused by obstructions in either the middle or inner ear. These obstructions may prevent wholly or partially, sounds from entering the middle ear. Signs include hearing voices or other sounds very faintly, as if they are being muffled. More often than not, conductive hearing loss can be treated either medically or surgically.
Mixed loss is quite simply a combination of both sensorineural loss and conductive loss. No matter what, untreated loss of hearing is not going to become better by itself, you must seek treatment
Hearing Loss Treatments
The first step in hearing loss treatment is identifying the loss. Seek out a hearing test, these are often a very easy and non-invasive first step towards determining your best course of action. Depending on the results of your hearing tests, an audiologist may suggest treating your loss with the use of aids. Perform your due diligence, both in questioning your doctor and researching different aids. The myriad aids on the market today differ as much as any other product in their technical specifications, primary uses, and costs. Be sure to select the aids which best suit your needs and continue to stay abreast of changes to treatments.
Hearing aid technologies fall loosely into three main categories; digital programmable, conventional analog, and analog programmable. Digital programmable hearing aids use DSP or digitized sound processing. DSP essentially receives sound waves and turns them into digital signals, then the microchip in the hearing aid determines if the sounds are speech or other noises and adjusts the clarity and volume accordingly. These aids adjust themselves and, due to the computing technology they utilize, are often very expensive. These aids can also store settings to make them better suited for phone calls or particularly noisy areas.
Conventional analog hearing aids are programmed by your audiologist with settings based on the results of your hearing test. These are generally the cheapest hearing aid options as they are not nearly as flexible as digital aids.
Analog programmable hearing aids are essentially a hybrid between the two previously discussed types of aids. Your audiologist can program multiple settings into these aids for different needs, similar to digital programmable aids. Though like conventional analog aids, analog programmable aids cannot be adjusted by the wearer.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
There are a variety of benefits to treating your loss of hearing beyond simply hearing better. Studies show that people with loss of hearing often have a greater cognitive loss over time, increasing the risks of dementia and reduced cognitive functioning with age. We discussed tinnitus briefly in the introduction of this post and it has been found that wearing proper aids can also reduce the annoyance related to severe tinnitus. Some new aids even contain technology specifically designed to act against tinnitus.
Seek Treatment for Your Hearing Loss
While it may be challenging to admit that you cannot hear as well as you once did, it is far less harmful than leaving hearing loss untreated. With modern technology, loss of hearing can be diagnosed and rectified relatively easily and without much commotion, people often cannot even tell you have a hearing aid in.
Fidelity Hearing Centers
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and are struggling with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!