Scientific research is increasingly indicating that hearing loss can be restored or prevented in as many as half of all hearing loss cases.
Hearing loss is an affliction that many fail to identify, certainly in the early stages, and yet it can be fixed often quite easily, researchers say.
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For instance, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York were reported in the journal Cell Metabolism saying noise-induced hearing loss could be fixed with a chemical compound.
They explain that the cochlea transmits sound messages through nerves to the spiral ganglion, which, in turn, passes those messages to the brain. When an individual is exposed to loud noises, the synapses connecting the cochlear nerves and hair cells become damaged, resulting in hearing loss.
In developing countries there are severe issues too. For instance, according to WHO and NSSO, four in every 1,000 children in India are born with hearing impairment and the prevalence of hearing loss in adults and geriatric population is increasing at an alarming rate.
“Hearing impairment is an invisible handicap, yet its effects upon one’s personal health, happiness, and personal well-being are real,” said Dr Saurabh Gupta, consultant ENT surgeon at Apollo Hospitals.
“When assessing hearing loss, generally three aspects are looked at — type of hearing loss, degree of hearing loss, and configuration of hearing loss.
Early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss is of paramount importance in children since this limits the learning potential for learning and development of the child.
Even amongst adults, hearing loss can greatly affect the quality of life. Undiagnosed hearing loss can have an impact on the overall quality of life, education, and general well-being.
Experts said age-related hearing loss, which is also known as presbycusis, is more common in today’s world. The incidence is increasing due to excessive noise exposure, changes in lifestyle etc.
When asked about the treatment for hearing loss, Dr Gupta said, “Treatment mainly depends on the cause, type, degree and configuration of hearing loss. Most of conductive hearing loss patients can be treated by medication or surgical intervention. Sensorineural hearing loss can be treated by hearing aids or cochlear implants, etc. Some of the patients may require auditory training and/or speech therapy as part of the treatment”.
Experts also suggested that most of the children born with hearing loss require cochlear implant surgery as their severity of hearing loss is profound Sensorineural hearing loss.