Hearing loss is a common problem that affects millions, though it is common in adults or the elderly from between the ages of 65 to 74. It disrupts a person’s ability to function in numerous ways – from hearing doorbells, responding to warnings, or keeping up with conversations with families and friends.
It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting to live with severe hearing loss, which is why many questions whether or not it’s possible to reverse it. The answer depends on the type of impairment:
- Sensorineural hearing loss – this type of deafness is permanent as it refers to damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve, which are tiny hairlike cells in your inner ear. Depending on the severity, tools such as hearing aids or cochlear implants can provide temporary treatment.
- Conductive hearing loss – this occurs when you find it difficult to hear specific soundwaves due to earwax buildup, fluid, or punctured eardrums. This is the type of hearing loss that you can restore using treatment or surgery.
Restoring Hearing Loss
Depending on the gravity of the impairment or nature of the problem, individuals suffering from conductive hearing loss have high chances of restoring some, even most, of their hearing through the following surgeries:
1. Cochlear Implants
This type of surgery caters to children and adults who struggle with little to no residual hearing. The process works by implanting a neuroprosthetic device into your ear, bypassing the normal acoustic hearing process as an alternative way to send electrical pulses to the hearing nerves.
This brain can translate it as meaningful sound as the cochlear implants aim to stimulate the auditory nerve. With that in mind, this procedure is best given to people with moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss.
2. Bone-anchored Hearing Systems
Also known as BAHAs, this is a surgically implanted device that is appropriate for those who are deaf in one ear or struggle with ear canal malformations. The surgery will involve inserting the small, metal implants into the mastoid bone behind the ear.
The entire procedure may take some time as you will have to wait for the area with the implant to heal. After the recovery process, an ENT or audiologist will fit a device similar to a hearing aid over the device, which primarily stimulates sound waves in the inner ear.
When the tiny bones from your middle ear become immobile for some reason, it is unable to transmit sound to the inner ear, which leads to conductive hearing loss. One of the major causes of stapedectomy is otosclerosis, which refers to abnormal bone growth around the stapes of the middle ear. With that in mind, a stapedectomy is a procedure that replaces the stapes with a prosthesis.
Restoring hearing loss, especially when it is due to natural ageing, noise exposure, ototoxic medications, and others aren’t as simple as treating other medical conditions. While it can be a daunting process, there’s no reason to lose hope as the medical industry continues to find ways to regain hearing impairments such as the procedures mentioned above.
Of course, if you’re experiencing the first signs of hearing loss, it’s in your best interest to seek immediate care as initial treatments can be as simple as visiting a hearing care professional.
If you’re looking for hearing aids, come on down to Fraser Valley Beltone today! We’re a hearing clinic in Langley, BC. Get in touch today to book your appointment.