A hearing disability is a problem that impacts millions of people across the country. According to information that has been published by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), around 15 percent of adults in the United States have some degree of hearing loss in either one or both ears. This is more than 30 million adults. Furthermore, about one out of every eight people in the United States over the age of 12 has some degree of hearing loss in both ears. Clearly, this is a common problem and can have an adverse impact on someone’s overall quality of life.
What is a Hearing Disability?
A hearing disability Colorado Springs, impairment, or deafness refers to either a partial or total inability to hear sounds. There is a wide range when it comes to the severity of hearing impairment. Some people might have such a slight disability that they might not even notice it. In other cases, someone might not be able to hear anything at all.
For example, someone who has a mild degree of hearing loss might have issues understanding someone who is speaking. The problem tends to get worse when there is a lot of background noise. Background noise might include passing cars, overhead announcements, or other conversations taking place in the area.
On the other hand, someone who has been diagnosed with a moderate degree of hearing impairment might not be able to make out words at all without the benefit of a hearing aid. In this case, lip-reading is an important skill that can help individuals with a hearing disability maintain some degree of independence. There are a few reasons why someone might develop a hearing disability Colorado Springs.
What are the Causes of a Hearing Disability?
If someone has been diagnosed with hearing loss, there are a variety of possible causes. Some of the common examples of hearing loss include:
Congenital Deafness: In some cases, children might be born with hearing loss that is genetic. Often, a child who is born with hearing loss has two parents who can hear. This shows that genetic hearing loss is a recessive trait.
Childhood Diseases: Some children are born with the ability to hear; however, they contact an illness during infancy that might deprive them of the ability to hear. Some of the common examples include chickenpox, cytomegalovirus (CMV), meningitis, and mumps. Some of these diseases have vaccinations available that can protect children against these illnesses.
Adult Diseases: There are several diseases that can develop in adulthood, depriving someone of the ability to hear. One of the most common is diabetes. When someone develops diabetes, they are prone to developing nerve and blood vessel damage. If this takes place in the ears, this can lead to hearing loss.
Trauma: Finally, trauma can also lead to hearing loss. The inner ear is responsible for a significant amount of the body’s hearing. There are also tiny bones in the middle ear such as the incus, malleus, and stapes. If these bones are damaged, this can lead to hearing loss.
In order for someone to have the ability to hear, all parts of the ears need to be working appropriately.
What is the Mechanism Behind Hearing?
There are multiple small parts from the ear to the brain that need to work in lockstep in order for sounds to be interpreted appropriately. First, sound waves the outer ear. Then, they move down the auditory canal. At the end of the auditory canal is the eardrum. When sound waves strike the eardrum, it vibrates.
As the eardrum vibrates, the vibrations are transmitted to the three ossicles of the middle ear. They are called the incus, malleus, and stapes. These bones serve to amplify the vibrations from the eardrum. Then, the hair cells of the cochlea pick up the vibrations.
As the hair cells of the cochlea move, the movement data is transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve. Finally, the brain processes the information from the auditory nerve. If every part of the auditory system is working properly, the brain interprets the vibrations as sound.
Solutions for People with Hearing Loss
If someone has been diagnosed with a hearing disability Colorado Springs, there are several solutions available. First, some of the causes of hearing loss above might be reversible. For example, if someone has been diagnosed with an ear infection, antibiotics might be able to clear the infection and restore someone’s ability to hear. Furthermore, if trauma leads to a perforated eardrum, the eardrum might be repaired by a trained surgeon.
Another possible solution is a hearing aid. A hearing aid is a small electronic device that is worn behind the ear. A hearing aid works to amplify sounds so that someone with hearing loss can hear them more clearly. Hearing aids can be used to improve the hearing and comprehension of sounds in individuals who have suffered damage to small parts of the middle and inner ear. By magnifying the amplitude of sound waves, working hair cells will more strongly transmit information to the auditory nerve, allowing the brain to interpret this information more clearly.
There are three types of hearing aids. These are:
- Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids which include an earmold that is connected to a hard plastic case that tucks behind the ear
- In the ear (ITE) are placed within the outer area of the ear and are more common in people with severe hearing loss
- Canal aids which are used for moderate to severe degrees of hearing loss
Anyone who is interested in hearing aids should speak with a physician, otolaryngologist or audiologist in Colorado Springs, CO to learn more. Hearing aids have the potential to treat a hearing disability Colorado Springs and dramatically improve someone’s quality of life.