Hearing loss is treated based on the cause of the hearing impairment. Usually those with conductive hearing loss benefit from therapy and may be prescribed hearing aids.
However, those with sensorineural hearing loss may have a more permanent condition that cannot be treated. This is because in these patients the nerves and the sensitive hair cells in the cochlea are damaged and these cannot be repaired and these remain damaged for the rest of a person’s life. However, there are methods to deal with hearing loss that can improve the quality of life. (1-5)
Treatment of hearing loss includes:
These are devices that serve to increase the volume of the sounds entering the ear and help the person to hear more clearly. These include parts like a microphone, amplifier, loudspeaker and a battery.
Earlier hearing aids were large and often visible. These days the aids are very small and discreet and can be worn inside the ear. The aid works simply with the microphone picking up the sound, and the amplifier increasing its volume.
These can also distinguish between background noise and conversation and selectively help hear conversation.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are available these days that sit within the ear and have a potion that goes behind the ear. These may have two microphones that help the patient to listen to sounds in the general vicinity or to focus on a conversation or sound from a particular direction.
Other types are In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids and Completely in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids.
Hearing aids may also be Body-worn (BW) hearing aids with a small box containing the microphone clipped to the clothes or placed within the pocket.
These may be used with best benefits in mild to moderate hearing loss and are useless in profound and sensorineural deafness.
Some hearing aids are useful in bone conduction defects. These vibrate in response to the sounds going into the microphone. Another variety is the bone anchored hearing aid called the Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA).
Another variety is the CROS hearing aid that is useful in people who only have hearing in one ear. The aid picks up sounds to the bad ear and transmits it to the good ear.
BiCROS hearing aids may be used similarly in people who do not have any hearing in one ear and have limited hearing in the other ear. Some people may also use Disposable hearing aids.
Patients with hearing loss may adopt simple tips to cope. These include:
Prevention of hearing loss involves reducing the risks. These include: