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What is Hearing Loss?

Why does our hearing become impaired?

HEARING LOSS ... THE SILENT DISEASE?

Different degrees of hearing loss can be diagnosed accurately at our clinic.

1

Mild Hearing Loss

  • Unable to hear soft sounds.
  • Difficulty to understand speech in noisy surroundings.

2

Moderate Hearing Loss

  • Unable to hear soft and moderately loud sounds.
  • Considerable difficulty in understanding speech, particularly with background noise.

3

Severe Hearing Loss

  • Unable to hear most sounds.
  • Speakers must often raise their voices or repeat themselves to be heard.
  • Group conversation is possible only with considerable effort.

4

Profound Hearing Loss

  • Limited sounds are audible, however, communication without a hearing aid or sign language is extremely difficult.

HEARING LOSS ... THE SILENT DISEASE?

Different types of hearing loss can be diagnosed.

1

Middle ear hearing loss (conductive hearing loss)

Chronic middle ear infections, Otoslerosis (calcification), tumours, etc., cause dysfunction of the malleus, incus and stapes (three little bones in the ear)
Most of these conditions can be cured with surgery, depending the age of the patient.

2

Inner ear hearing loss (nerve Deafness)

THIS CONDITIONS IS IRREVERSIBLE AND DAMAGE TO THE AUDITORY NERVE NEVER RECOVER AGAIN.

Various causes of Nerve Deafness (Sensory-Neural) type hearing loss are possible:

Viral infections: (e.g. Measles & Mumps)

Around one in fifteen children who catch measles will develop more serious complications like deafness, meningitis or brain damage.  Although there may not be immediate hearing loss, it may transpire years later.

Head injuries and Meningitis:

Included but not limited to “pathological and enervating effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) caused by concussive and sub-concussive impacts;

Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord).

Ototoxic drugs:

Although aspirin, certain diuretics and quinine (malaria mediation) can cause hearing loss, the majority of cases are caused by certain antibiotics with parenteral administration (drips), life threatening infections leave doctors with no other options than to describe this type of antibiotics (amino glycosides).

Acoustic Neuroma:

This is due to the development of a tumour at the 8th cranial nerve.

A serious condition and surgery is often required.

3

Presbaycusis hearing loss

Hearing loss caused due to ageing.

4

NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss)

Probably one of the most unfair causes of hearing loss or impairment.

 Exposure is usually in industrial environments and mining areas where the workplace is polluted with noise more than 85 decibels.  Exposure over a period of time, without the proper hearing protection is very likely to cause hearing loss or impairment.

Hearing protectors must be worn at all times to prevent NIHL.

 Often NIHL can be associated with Tinnitus (buzzing of the ears).

 By far, the majority of hearing losses are in the high frequencies, causing speech discrimination problems, and inability to communicate in noisy areas and in amongst a crowd of people in restaurants, etc.

 The high frequency sounds in speech are the S, K, T, and V and when in a noisy environment, these sounds will disappear and non-existing words are heard.

 People with a hearing loss tend to start avoiding gatherings of people, meetings (if possible), or any area where background noise is present, making communication almost impossible.