Hearing loss treatment
Treatment for hearing impairment will always depend of the cause and severity of hearing loss. Several options are available for hearing loss, ranging from medical treatment to listening devices, such as hearing aids, or watchful waiting. Age-related hearing loss has no cure, for example, but hearing aids and other listening devices help treat the problem and improve quality of life.
Assistive listening devices (ALDs)
An assistive listening device (ALD) is any type of device that can help you function better in your day-to-day communication. These devices are like small radios that pick up sound and bring it to you. For example, a hearing aid is a small device that fits inside your ear that may help you hear better while you are wearing them. Many people who have a hearing loss wear a hearing aid. A hearing aid is an electronic, battery-operated device that makes sounds louder to the wearer. ALDs may help when watching TV, sitting in a classroom, or listening to a speaker. You may use earphones or a headset to receive (hear) the sound that the device sends to you. ALDs for phones and doorbells may use flashing lights or vibrators to let you know they are ringing. People with or without hearing aids may use ALDs to help them hear better.
Your doctor may change or stop certain medicines if s/he thinks the medicines are causing your hearing loss. Furthermore, antibiotics may be prescribed if you are diagnosed with an ear infection caused by bacteria. Always take antibiotics exactly as ordered. Finishing or halting a course of antibiotics before the designated time may make the medicine unable to kill the germs causing your infection.
If your ear is plugged with earwax or an object, your doctor can remove it. Be advised that removing objects from the ears is a medical procedure that should be administered by a medical professional.
Hearing protection is important any time you're exposed to loud noise. Sounds at or above 85 decibels (dB) can damage your ears. Loud noise does not have to be an everyday happening to cause damage. One-time exposure to very loud noises, such as the sound of a gun firing at close range, can harm your ears permanently. Therefore, wear ear plugs or special earmuffs when you are exposed to dangerous levels of noise or try to avoid loud noises altogether. This type of protection can keep hearing from being damaged.
If hearing loss is caused by problems such as otosclerosis or a tumor, you may need surgery. People who need ear tubes to help prevent ear infections may also need surgery. Cochlear implants are tiny devices that are placed into the cochlea part of the inner ear during surgery for people diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss.
You may need to work with a therapist who is specially trained to help you with your speech and hearing. Speech therapy generally focuses on voice and speech-language skills, while hearing therapy deals with hearing and hearing impairment. Clinical methods used during this type of therapy depend on the nature and severity of the problem, the age of the person diagnosed and the person's awareness of the problem.
Today, there is often more than one treatment option from which to choose. The treatment that's "best" for one person, may not be "best" for someone else. Treatments can often be "custom tailored" to suit your lifestyle and preferences. When you and your doctor work together as partners in planning to care for hearing loss, you can get the treatment that's best for your personal situation.