March 3 has been declared by World Health Organization (WHO) to create awareness around the world to prevent and care for hearing loss. Dr Sulaiman Al Habib joins the WHO on this advocacy to spread awareness on hearing loss. Here are the causes, prevention and treatment of hearing loss.
TYPES OF HEARING LOSS
There are 3 types of hearing loss and below we identify and define each one.
- Sensorineural hearing loss or (SNHL) – this type of hearing loss is when the nerves of the ear in the inner ear are damaged.
- Conductive hearing loss – this occurs when the outer ear, ear canal or the middle ear structure is deformed from many causes usually from ear infections, build up of ear fluids from colds, allergies, impacted ear wax or foreign objects on the outer ear blocking hearing.
- Mix Hearing loss – when the first two causes are combined.
SNHL usually can be treated through surgery especially if it’s genetic. For sudden sensorineural hearing loss due to viral in origin ENT doctors would normally prescribe corticosteroid drugs to treat sudden sensorineural hearing. See your doctor before taking any medicine to treat hearing loss. Corticosteroids are also given to those hearing was damaged through exposure to very loud noises. A low sodium diet may also be prescribed especially with patients with a history of vertigo. Irreversible SNHL that may not be treated by medicines or diet your ENT doctor may prescribe the use of hearing aids.
Treatments for conductive hearing loss caused by ear infection may include prescription of antibiotics or antifungal medications for chronic middle fluid in the ear. Amplification devices and other hearing aids may also be prescribed by your ENT doctors depending upon the condition of the hearing nerve. And finally, for more severe hearing or in cases of foreign objects such as tumour is present in the ear surgery is the primary treatment for this cause of hearing loss.
For mixed hearing loss, ENT doctors normally would treat the conductive hearing loss first before treating the SNHL symptoms.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST CURE
Being exposed to loud noises is the most common cause of hearing loss. It is best to avoid being exposed to loud noises.
BUT HOW LOUD IS LOUD?
- When you are in a place wherein you have to raise your voice in order for the other person to hear you. Ask the other person to go with you to a quieter place to talk.
- When you can’t hear the other people what they are saying.
- When your ears can hear a ringing sound after hearing loud noise.
- Or when your ears feel muffled after hearing noises.
LISTENING TO MUSIC
- When listening to music using earphones make sure not to turn up the volume for more than 60% of the volume.
- When purchasing earphones choose the ones that has noise cancelling feature.
- Always turn up the volume where you can comfortably listen on your earphones and not more.
- Do not listen to music on your earphones for more than an hour. At least stop for 5 mins when an hour has passed.
- Turning down the volume on your earphones can make a huge difference in lowering down risk of losing your sense of hearing.
GET YOUR HEARING TESTED
There is no better way to make sure your hearing is protected when you see your doctor for hearing tests on a regular basis. See your ENT doctor today before it’s too late. Book your appointment now at either at our Healthcare City main branch or at Sheik Zayed Road.
Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital – Dubai