Hearing Defects

Hearing Defects

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Hearing defects can make it hard or impossible to hear properly. When you have trouble hearing, it's called hearing loss. This means you might not be able to hear sounds as well as you should. How bad your hearing loss is depends on how loud a sound needs to be for you to hear it. There are different levels of hearing loss.

Types of hearing problems

There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, mixed, and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss happens when there's something wrong with the outer or middle ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the auditory nerve. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both.

Some common causes of hearing loss are blockages in the inner ear, problems with the eardrum, or fluid in the ear.

Hearing loss can be caused by getting older, getting hurt, being around loud noises, having a family history of hearing loss, or getting sick with a viral disease.

Congenital hearing defects and the cardiovascular system

Some hearing defects are present from birth and are caused by problems with the heart. These are called congenital hearing defects. When a person has a congenital cardiovascular disease, which means there's something wrong with their heart, it can cause hearing defects. This happens because the blood flow to the ear is reduced, which can damage parts of the auditory system.

Congenital hearing defects are permanent, but you can manage them with devices like hearing aids.

Anatomical hearing defects

Most of the, congenital hearing loss is caused by problems with ear's membranes, particularly the cochlea. But sometimes, it's caused by issues with the bony labyrinth in the inner ear.

If the problem is with the cochlea, then cochlear implants hearing aids can be used to treat the hearing loss, as seen in1. These devices can help people with congenital hearing loss hear better and communicate more effectively.

Cochlear implant

Meniere’s disease

Meniere's disease is a condition related to pressure on the inner ear. It can be caused by issues like fluid drainage, immune system problems, or viral infections. Typically, the disease only affects one ear, but it can affect both. Over time, Meniere's disease can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss that gets worse with time.

People with Meniere's disease may also experience sudden symptoms like vertigo (a spinning sensation) and ringing in the ear.

Treatments for Meniere's disease can include hearing aids, pressure therapy, and surgery to reduce the amount of fluid in the inner ear and relieve pressure.

Acoustic neuroma

Acoustic neuroma is a type of noncancerous tumor that grows on the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. As the tumor progresses, it can put pressure on the nerve, leading to symptoms like hearing loss, balance problems, and tinnitus (ringing in the ear).

If the tumor is expected to cause hearing problems, doctors may recommend surgical removal. This can help prevent further damage to the nerve and improve hearing and balance. In some cases, radiation therapy may be used instead of surgery to treat the tumor.

Hearing Defects: Down syndrome

Down syndrome is caused by an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart defects and hearing loss. In the majority of adults with Down syndrome, the condition causes conductive hearing loss due to narrow ear canals without affecting the heart. This type of hearing loss is common in children with Down syndrome, as evidenced by a study that revealed a high prevalence of hearing loss (36%) in children with Down syndrome. This hearing loss is usually permanent and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as serous otitis media (fluid in the middle ear) and sensorineural hearing loss . In addition, many children with Down syndrome experience transient hearing loss secondary to a middle ear disease.

To address these issues, people with Down syndrome usually have regular hearing tests and sometimes use hearing aids . This is important to ensure that any hearing loss is identified and treated as soon as possible.

Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis

Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are two conditions that affect the inner ear and can cause dizziness and balance problems. Vestibular neuritis occurs when the nerve responsible for sending motion and balance signals to the brain is inflamed or swollen. Labyrinthitis, on the other hand, is the result of the labyrinth, a spiral-shaped canal filled with fluid in the inner ear, being inflamed.

Both conditions are typically caused by a viral infection, although labyrinthitis can also be caused by bacterial infections. Symptoms of these conditions include dizziness, vertigo, and difficulty balancing. Labyrinthitis can also affect hearing, causing a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear.

Treatment for vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis depends on the cause and severity of the symptoms. In many cases, the condition will resolve on its own over time. However, physical therapy can be helpful in restoring balance and reducing symptoms. In addition, medications may be prescribed to help manage dizziness and nausea. It is important to treat any underlying viral or bacterial infection to prevent further damage to the inner ear.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common form of vertigo that is typically caused by debris collected in the inner ear at the semi-circular canals or by a head injury. This condition can cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and a spinning sensation.

Thankfully, there are effective treatments available for BPPV. One common treatment is the canal repositioning technique, also known as the Epley maneuver, which involves moving the particles from the semi-circular canals to the vestibule, a larger area that can absorb them. This technique can be performed by a healthcare professional or at home with guidance from a healthcare provider.

In some cases, the particles causing BPPV may need to be moved surgically. This can be done by inserting a plug to block fluid flow in the affected area. Surgery is typically only recommended if other treatments have failed or if the BPPV is caused by a more serious underlying condition.

Overall, while BPPV can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, there are effective treatments available to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.

Superior semi-circular canal dehiscence (SSCD)

This condition is relatively rare and occurs where the bony area covering the semi-circular canal is either absent or deformed (see figure 2). Symptoms include hearing loss, balance problems, and dizziness. This condition can be treated surgically to fill or reform the area of the missing bone.

Superior semi-circular canal
Superior semi-circular canal

Hearing Defects: Signs of hearing loss

Hearing loss is condition that can be progressive people. several and may indicate when someone is experiencing hearing loss.

The first sign of hearing loss is often difficulty hearing weak sounds, such as whispers or soft voices. This may be due to age-related hearing loss, which is a natural part of the aging process. Another common sign of hearing loss is the inability to hear high-pitched sounds, such as birdsong or the beep of a smoke detector.

In addition, individuals with hearing loss may have difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy or crowded environments. This can lead to frustration and social isolation, as they may avoid social situations due to difficulty hearing and communicating with.

Other signs of hearing loss may include constantly needing to turn up the volume on the television or radio, ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus), and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional. They can perform a hearing test and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive devices. Early detection and treatment of hearing loss can greatly improve quality of life and prevent further damage to the ears.

Hearing Defects: Hearing loss tests

Hearing loss tests are used to identify hearing conditions, hearing loss and balance problems. Imaging, such as CT scans or MRI, is used to diagnose structural defects causing hearing problems. For hearing issues, tests such as pure-tone or audiometry tests and tuning fork tests are performed to identify hearing loss in one or both ears and the type of hearing loss present.

Balance testing involves a series of examinations to diagnose underlying conditions. Vestibular testing uses electronystagmography or videonystagmography to examine the vestibular system and record eye movements. Computerised dynamic posturography evaluates the vestibular, somatosensory, and vision senses to identify the problem and find targeted treatment.

Hearing loss severity is classified based on the range of frequencies that can be heard compared to a person with a normal hearing range. Sound is measured in decibels, and the larger the number, the louder the sound. Hearing loss ranges from mild to profound, with mild hearing loss being able to hear sounds above 30 dB and profound hearing loss only being able to hear sounds above 91 dB.

In conclusion, hearing loss can be caused by various factors, and there are different types tests and classifications used to diagnose and classify hearing loss. It is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional if experiencing any hearing or balance issues.

Hearing Defects

What are the common hearing problems?

Some common hearing problems are Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis, presbycusis, acoustic neuroma, and autoimmune inner ear disease.

Does down syndrome cause hearing defects?

Yes, it does in the majority of people.

What are the 3 early signs of hearing damage?

Inability to hear high-pitched sounds, inability to hear weak sounds, and being unable to have conversations in a loud environment.

What are auditory defects?

Defects that cause partial or total hearing impairment.

What are the 3 types of hearing losses?

Mixed, conductive, and sensorineural hearing loss.

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