Your Body’s Ability to Recover
While some injuries take longer to heal than others, the human body usually has no issue mending cuts, scrapes, or broken bones. But you’re out of luck when it comes to fixing the tiny little hairs in your ears. So far, at least. Though scientists are working on it, humans can’t heal the cilia in their ears in the same way animals can. That means you could have irreversible loss of hearing if you damage the hearing nerve or those little hairs.
At What Point Does Loss of Hearing Become Permanent?
The first question you think of when you find out you have hearing loss is, will it come back? Whether it will or not depends on a number of factors. Basically, there are two types of hearing loss:
- Obstruction based hearing loss: When there’s something blocking your ear canal, you can exhibit all the signs of hearing loss. This obstruction can be caused by a wide variety of things, from debris to earwax to tumors. Your hearing generally returns to normal after the blockage is cleared, and that’s the good news.
- Hearing loss caused by damage: But there’s another, more widespread kind of hearing loss that accounts for around 90 percent of hearing loss. This sort of hearing loss, which is usually permanent, is known as sensorineural hearing loss. Here’s how it works: there are little hairs in your ear that move when hit with moving air (sound waves). Your brain is good at turning these vibrations into the sounds you hear. But your hearing can, as time passes, be permanently harmed by loud noises. Sensorineural hearing loss can also be from injury to the nerve or to the inner ear. In some cases, particularly in instances of severe loss of hearing, a cochlear implant could help restore hearing.
Whether hearing aids will help restore your hearing can only be determined by getting a hearing exam.
Treatment of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss presently has no cure. But it may be possible to get treatment for your loss of hearing. As a matter of fact, getting the right treatment for your loss of hearing can help you:
- Keep isolation at bay by staying socially engaged.
- Successfully deal with the symptoms of hearing loss you might be suffering from.
- Prevent cognitive decline.
- Preserve and protect the hearing you have left.
- Make sure your overall quality of life remains high or is unaffected.
This treatment can take many forms, and it’ll usually depend on how extreme your loss of hearing is. One of the most basic treatments is also one of the most common: hearing aids.
Why Are Hearing Aids a Good Treatment for Hearing Loss?
People with loss of hearing can use hearing aids to perceive sounds and perform as effectively as they can. Fatigue is caused when the brain struggles to hear because hearing is hampered. As time passes the lack of sensory input has been connected with a greater risk of cognitive decay. Your cognitive function can start to be restored by using hearing aids because they allow your ears hear again. In fact, wearing hearing aids has been demonstrated to slow cognitive decline by as much as 75%. Background noise can also be drowned out by modern-day hearing aids letting you concentrate on what you want to hear.
The Best Defense Is Prevention
Hopefully, if you take one thing away from this knowledge, it this: you should safeguard the hearing you have because you can’t depend on recovering from hearing loss. Certainly, if you have something blocking your ear canal, more than likely you can have it cleared. But that doesn’t decrease the risk from loud sounds, noises you might not even think are loud enough to really be all that dangerous. That’s why it’s a good strategy to take the time to safeguard your ears. If you are inevitably diagnosed with loss of hearing, you will have more treatment options if you take measures now to protect your hearing. Recovery likely won’t be an option but treatment can help you continue living a great, full life. To determine what your best option is, make an appointment with a hearing care specialist.