Hearing is one of the most important parts of our day-to-day functioning. With our well-functioning ears, we don’t even realize the advantages we have in our basic functionality, be it personal, social, or professional. Hearing loss can affect one’s ability to communicate, learn, form social relationships, work productivity, and overall growth in life. The earlier the hearing loss sets in, in an individual the greater the loss in their productivity and general wellbeing. Moreover, hearing loss affects people of different age groups in different ways.
The most important fact associated with hearing loss is its huge economic impact. According to a detailed WHO report, a cautious analysis states that the annual cost of unaddressed hearing loss is in the range of $750-790 billion globally. Apart from this, another WHO report states that in less than 10 years’ time, around 1.1 billion people will be at the risk of hearing loss. These reports also state that around 60% of hearing loss is avoidable and occurs due to unhealthy listening practices.
There are many such statistics based on extensive research and reports published by WHO and other medical and scientific organizations, which can be an eye-opener for people and industries across the world.
In the next section, we will learn about many interesting details related to hearing loss, its types, symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is categorized into three types, Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Conductive Hearing Loss, and Mixed Hearing Loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
Sensorineural hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss. It is a permanent hearing loss that is caused due to damage to the cochlea, other parts of the inner ear, or the auditory nerve itself. Both, the damage to the auditory nerve, and the damage caused to the stereocilia are irreversible.
The most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss is aging or exposure to loud sounds at work or for entertainment purposes. In children, it can be caused due to infection transfer from mother to fetus in the womb, or due to some genetic factors. Other causes include heart diseases, diabetes, ototoxic medications (medicines causing hearing loss), infections such as mumps, and Meniere’s disease.
Although there is no medical method to repair the damage caused by sensorineural hearing loss, treatments like cochlear implants and power hearing devices can enable the patients to listen. Apart from these treatments, today there are several assistive devices like captioned phones and advanced bone conduction devices available in the market that make the life of individuals with sensorineural hearing loss better.
Conductive Hearing Loss:
Another most common type of hearing loss these days is Conductive Hearing Loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs due to damage to the outer or middle ear. This stops the sound from being conducted to the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss can be temporary or permanent depending on its cause.
The common cause of conductive hearing loss can be obstruction or damage in the outer ear or damage in the middle ear. In the outer ear, conductive hearing loss can occur due to ear infection, wax impaction, narrowing of the ear canal also called stenosis, and bone protrusions inside the ear canal. In the middle ear, conductive hearing loss can occur due to damage to the eardrum caused due to injury or infection, tumors, or due to breakage of bones in the middle ear.
For conductive hearing loss, there are many surgical and non-surgical methods available that can help individuals with hearing loss retain their normal hearing. For more severe conductive loss which occurs due to narrowing of the ear canal or damage to the bones in the middle ear, the patients can hear with help of hearing devices, assistive devices, and bone conduction devices.
Mixed Hearing Loss:
Mixed hearing loss as the name suggests is due to the combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss is caused due to trauma, injury, or age-related issues. In aged people, a long-standing conductive hearing loss can get compounded due to sensorineural hearing loss due to age-related factors. And similarly, a person with sensory neural hearing loss can experience conductive hearing loss due to breakage of bones in the middle ear or wax impaction in the outer ear.
Treatment of mixed hearing loss is dependent upon whether the hearing loss is more sensorineural in nature or conductive in nature. If the hearing loss is more conductive, in that case, it can be corrected by surgery, admission of antibiotics, or by extraction methods. And if it is more due to a sensorineural component, in that case, treatments such as power hearing devices or cochlear implants can help.
The Powerful Innovation WeHear Ear+
WeHear Ear+ is India’s first hearing device that works on bone conduction technology. The device has been innovated by Kanishka Patel, CEO of WeHear Innovations Pvt. Ltd. and it has allowed many individuals with even 80% hearing loss to listen.
The innovation of WeHear Ear+ has brought about a significant change in the life of many children, young adults, and elderly people with hearing loss and has allowed them to be actively immersed in mainstream school learning, college education, employment, and social opportunities. Until now nearly 100 people have benefited from the innovative prowess of WeHear Ear+ hearing devices through projects like ‘Project Shruti’ and ‘Sambhde Aravalli’.
The mission of WeHear is to make India free of hearing impairment.
Click on WeHear Hearing Test to know your correct ear age.
Visit www.wehear.in to know more.