Getting a hearing test is the most important and first step in treatment of hearing loss. The two types of hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss, can each be caused by various different factors, which determine the appropriate treatment method.
Conductive hearing loss refers to a loss that is typically temporary and often caused by fluid in the ear from colds, ear infection, allergies, or infection in the ear canal and can often be treated with antibiotic or antifungal medications. Once the infection is cleared up, the ear canal should be free of obstructions and hearing ability should return back to normal. If the conditions and infections contributing to the hearing loss are chronic and do not respond to medical therapy, surgery or pressure equalizing tubes may be used.
“Tubes” (tympanostomy tubes, ventilation tubes, pressure equalization tubes) are tiny, hollow cylinders, made of plastic or metal, that are surgically inserted into the eardrum. These tubes create an airway that ventilates the middle ear and prevents the accumulation of fluids behind the eardrum that block the passageway and prohibit hearing. Tubes are often recommended for children with frequent ear infections and persistent fluid buildup, as this impediment to their hearing could also affect speech development.
Some hearing loss can require various surgical procedures for improvement. A BAHA (osseointegrated device) is a surgically implanted bone-anchored hearing device. A tiny titanium vibrator is inserted behind the ear, and incoming sounds cause the implanted portion to vibrate, which then transmits to the inner ear via bone conduction and produces sound sensations. Surgical repair of hearing loss caused by trauma can be effective and is suggested sooner after the trauma for better potential of results. Cochlear implants bypass damaged structures in the middle ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve by converting incoming sounds to electrical currents, and directing them to contact points that creates an electrical field. All of these options are specialized treatment options for patients with chronic middle ear disorders resulting in hearing loss, those whose loss can be corrected surgically or for patients with significant permanent hearing loss that does not benefit from traditional hearing devices.
Sensorineural hearing loss is a hearing loss that is typically permanent and rarely medically correctible. Hearing aids are the most common devices to treat sensorineural hearing loss, and can range from extremely tiny pieces that fit completely in the ear canal, to ones that are placed behind the ear. There are all different models and types depending on your type of hearing loss and causes, and personal preferences.
Get your hearing tested today to understand the cause of your hearing loss, and what treatment option will work best for you. Call SoundLogic at 903-592-3666 to book an appointment.