Most people take hearing for granted. It is that one obvious sense which is always there for us, helping us distinguish and detect different sounds. In fact, our sensitive sense of hearing can help us distinguish 400,000 different sounds! But once it is gone, it is never coming back. Hearing loss cannot be cured, only prevented. In this guide, we are going to tell you how to go about your hearing protection. From the causes of ear hearing problem, types to the prevention and treatment for hearing loss, this guide will try to answer all your questions related to hearing protection. Let us begin with the types of hearing problem:
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is majorly divided into three types:
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- In this type of hearing problem, there is either auditory nerve damage or damage in either the inner ear, which delivers sound to the brain. This auditory nerve damage cannot be treated as it blocks the nerve signals that carry information about loudness and clarity of sound to the brain.
- Conductive hearing loss
- This one occurs when sound is not reaching the inner ear, generally due to an obstruction or trauma. This can be both temporary or permanent depending on the cause.
- Mixed hearing loss
- As the name suggests, this hearing problem is caused by a combination of the two other types of hearing loss.
How To Know If You Have Ear Problems?
In most cases, hearing loss is gradual and painless. It can progress over several years and you may not even know that it is happening. You may experience tinnitus ear though. In tinnitus ear, you experience ringing or other sounds in the ear when there is an overexposure to loud noise. You can also have tinnitus ear due to infections, medications or other conditions. To make sure you have a hearing problem and you need hearing protection, it is best to get a diagnosis done by an ENT Specialist. Here are some signs that show you need to visit a doctor for hearing protection:
- Severe and sharp pain in or around your ear
- Discomfort in ear that lasts more than a day or two
- Sudden ear ringing
- Tinnitus ear
- Discharge of pus, or blood from the ear
- Sudden ear block
- Hearing loss in one ear
Diagnosis and Treatment
Here are some of the basic tests that you can expect during a diagnosis of an ear hearing problem. It is also recommended that you should go for an ear exam on a regular basis for personal hearing protection:
- Physical Exam:
- The first thing a doctor does is to look for causes for issues like sudden ear ringing by checking your ear. He or she will also look for ear wax or a possible ear infection.
- General Screening:
- This test is done to detect hearing loss in one ear or both. The doctor can opt for a whisper test, in which you are exposed to various sounds to see how well you react to them.
- Tuning Fork Tests:
- As the name suggests, this test involves the ringing of a tuning fork in your ear. This test helps in determining where the damage may have occurred.
If the doctor finds any issue with your hearing, they will start the treatment for hearing loss and other problems. The treatment for hearing loss varies from patient to patient depending on the severity and cause. Some of the common options for treatment for hearing loss are:
- Removing of wax blockage
- Surgical procedures such as draining the pus in case of infection or treating ear abnormalities
- Hearing aids if the damage is in the inner ear
- Cochlear implants
How to Prevent Hearing Loss of Other Ear Problems
While there are various options of treatment for hearing loss, the best way to keep your hearing intact is by following preventative measures. Below, we have jotted down some of the best ways you can save yourself from hearing loss in one ear or both. Take a look!
- Turn The Volume Down
We all love to listen to music or watch movies, especially through headphones. But these can seriously harm your ears in the long run. To beat that, you can try the 6-/60 rule. As per this rule, you should listen to the headphone at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day. The same goes for other events where you have to turn the music or voice too loud. Avoid that and keep the music at a volume so that people do not have to hold a conversation.
- Use Hearing Protection
At times, you cannot avoid loud noises at some places such as clubs, concerts, chainsaws, or any other noise that is coming from next door. Some occupations also involve loud noises and that can be difficult to avoid. Such loud noise can not only affect hair cells in the ear but also lead to auditory nerve damage and increase your chances of hearing loss. In such a case, you can use hearing protection gears such as earmuffs or earplugs. You can talk to a doctor to know which hearing protection will be better as per the situation. If you cannot visit the clinic, you can also consult doctor online and get yourself brand-new hearing protection gear.
- Get Your Hearing Tested
Most people think that it is only when they notice symptoms like sudden ear ringing or ear blockage that they need to visit a doctor. But that is not the case. Just like full body checkup is recommended to prevent any disease, you can also consider having regular ear check ups to be on the safer side. In fact, if you are a musician or work at a place where loud noises are common, you must ensure regular checkups to detect any sign of hearing loss earlier. The earlier this diagnosis is the better treatment for hearing loss you can expect.