Everything about Hearing Loss and Deafness

There is a lot of stigma attached to Hearing Loss and Deafness because of which it is not discussed often. It is treated like any other disability and often individuals suffering from hearing loss & deafness are looked down upon making them feel uncomfortable to discuss the topic freely.

Educating people about the causes, risks and treatment options available, helps clear this air. Hence we at Dr Rao’s ENT have compiled a list of commonly asked questions (FAQs) associated with hearing loss.

hearing loss and deafness

Am I at a risk of hearing loss and deafness?

While anyone can suffer from hearing loss & deafness, you would be more susceptible if you –

  • are 60 years or older
  • work in noisy environments
    • such as a factory or a production facility, security or police
    • or you are a BPO employee where you are constantly hooked to headphones
  • take medicines that may damage your hearing
  • regularly consume loud music for more than 1 hour every day (read more here about hearing loss due to poor listening practices)

How do I know if I have hearing loss?

If you have hearing loss the first people to notice would be your family and friends! Do you ask people around you to repeat themselves? Do your friends complain that you are speaking louder than normal in recent times? Do you find trouble in hearing others in slightly noisy situations or in a group? Chances are you are suffering from partial hearing loss.

Can hearing loss effect my health?

Hearing loss & deafness may not have a direct impact on your other health aspects but can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and relationships. It is generally noticed that individuals suffering from undetected hearing loss tend to isolate themselves from their family and friends. Hearing is a critical function which is key in all our day to day activities and any loss of hearing will directly hamper our activities. This includes everything from our conversations to driving to work and studies.

Does listening to loud music damage my hearing?

Hearing loss caused due to continuous exposure to loud music is becoming a major epidemic. With rising smartphone usage, WHO estimates 1.1 billion people in the age group of 12-35 are susceptible to hearing loss due to poor listening practices.

It is advised to follow the 60/60 rule to prevent hearing loss caused due to loud music – i.e., do not listening to music for more than 60 minutes at more than 60% of volume. Read more here.

How can I test my hearing?

Prevention is always better than cure and it is always advised to constantly check your hearing to ensure it is detected at early stages. Fortunately, we have apps such as hearWHO at our disposal which allow regular screening of our hearing, you can download the app here.

When should I consult an ENT specialist for hearing screening?

  • If you are over 60 years, we recommend a compulsory hearing screening.
  • You may experience temporary hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises, but if the hearing loss stays for longer periods you should visit a hearing specialist.
  • If your family and friends are constantly complaining about your hearing, you can conduct an initial screening using the app above and if your result is Moderate or above visit an ENT specialist.

What would be the tests performed to diagnose hearing loss and deafness?

Your ENT specialist such as Dr Rao’s ENT would perform the following tests to ascertain your hearing issue –

  • Physical examination – A physical examination would help your doctor identify the cause of hearing loss, whether it is because of wax blockage, due to any structural reasons, or any ear infections.
  • General screening tests – Your ENT specialist may perform whisper test to see how well you are able to hear words spoken at different volumes. This is an initial test based on which the doctor will decide if a more comprehensive audiometer test is required.
  • Tuning fork tests – Your doctor can perform a simple tuning fork test to evaluate the extent and location of damage in your ear.
  • Audiometer tests – These tests are performed by an audiologist where you would wear earphones and hear sounds at various levels. These are very comprehensive tests and your ENT specialist would recommend the further course of treatment based on audiometer results.

If my hearing is indeed damaged, should I wear a hearing aid?

There is a lot of stigma attached to the usage of hearing aids and we understand your concern. Short answer would be no. Depending on the extent and cause of your hearing loss we would recommend the appropriate course of treatment. Sometimes temporary hearing loss maybe caused due to wax blockage and removing the blockage can resolve your hearing issue. At times a surgery may be recommended, or a cochlear implant.

Is hearing loss and deafness reversible?

Hearing loss is caused due to damage to your cilia (these are tiny, sensitive hair present in your ear that transmit sounds to your brain) and auditory nerve. This damage is unfortunately irreversible which is why we highly recommend following safe hearing practices and undergo regular screening tests to prevent hearing loss. Depending on the extent and cause of hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants or surgery can treat your hearing loss.

Consult the best Hearing Specialists in Hyderabad at Dr Rao's ENT Super Speciality International Hospital