Hearing loss can be alarming for the person experiencing it. People have different reactions to hearing loss, and while some can take it in their stride and continue on in life without much disruption, others find that it disrupts their social, psychological and physical wellbeing. If you are losing – or have already lost – your hearing, the most common thing that you’ll be asking your audiologist is whether you can regain your hearing again.
It’s a perfectly natural question to ask given that you have just lost one of the vital senses that you rely on to carry on in your life. In a lot of cases, hearing can be regained, but it’s essential to understand the different types of hearing loss and what can be done to restore some of your hearing – if not all of it.
You already would have talked through it with your audiologist, but the three main types of hearing loss are as follows:
This is the most common hearing loss type out there, as it’s a permanent loss that is caused because of damage to your auditory nerve or the tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear. One of the most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss is Meniere’s disease.
It’s not as common as sensorineural hearing loss, but conductive hearing loss is usually because of an obstruction in the ear or damage to the outer/middle ear. This stops the sound being conducted into the inner ear. The auditory nerve is not damaged here, which is why conductive hearing loss is often temporary. Causes can be anything from an impaction from wax, or a bone broken in the middle ear.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the two above types, and sensorineural loss can be complicated because of wax impaction – this is where the hearing loss is mixed.
Reversing hearing loss
In the topic of reversing your hearing loss, it really does depend on the type of hearing loss you are dealing with. Some people choose not to reverse partial hearing loss, as their life hasn’t been impacted by it and not much has changed. However, let’s explore reversing your hearing loss by hearing type, and you can speak to your audiologist about this to determine whether it’s even possible for you and your hearing situation.
Sensorineural hearing loss reversal
Once your auditory nerve or tiny hair-like cells have been damaged, they cannot be repaired. This shouldn’t cause despair, as hearing loss that is sensorineural can be treated with hearing aids. Hearing aids can be selected in a variety of styles, including:
- In the ear (ITE)
- In the canal (ITC)
- Behind the ear (BTE)
- Completely in canal (CIC)
- Invisible in canal (IIC)
Your audiologist will work with you to determine which solution will best fit your needs. When deciding on the right hearing aid, you want to consider your lifestyle, hearing loss and budget preferences. What device is suitable for you will depend on the severity of your hearing loss. IIC devices offer discreteness, but they aren’t ideal for an individual with profound hearing loss or dexterity issues, which means a BTE may be a better fit.
Conductive hearing loss reversal
It very much depends on the nature and extent of the issue, but those with conductive hearing loss can almost always get some of their hearing back if not all of it. Not everyone can regain their hearing, of course, but it’s worth exploring. Removing blockages from wax or dirt, abnormal growths, infections and foreign objects in the ear can often reverse the hearing loss, and your audiologist can talk you through this.
Your audiologist won’t be able to reverse every hearing loss that is conductive, and there are some cases where other abnormalities cannot be reversed, such as stenosis in the ear canal, exostoses and even otosclerosis, which is abnormal growth around the bones in the middle ear.
Mixed hearing loss reversal
Treatment decisions for reversing mixed hearing loss will depend on the type of hearing loss that you are dealing with, and your audiologist could choose to treat either or both types of loss.
Hearing loss can possibly be reversed depending on individual situations and the first step to investigating whether you could benefit from any treatment is to contact your audiologist.
Getting an appointment and learning more about your hearing loss leads to more informed decisions. Learn more about Northgate Hearing Services and how we can help diagnose and treat your hearing loss by calling 206-367-1345.