Hearing Loss: According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) most current World Hearing Report, there are over 1.5 billion people worldwide who are deaf to varied degrees, with India and other southeast Asian nations accounting for about 109 million of these instances. Losing a significant human feeling A person’s ability to hear can affect his or her capacity to hear sounds around them, to speak, to articulate ideas, to learn and become educated. This is relevant to all age groups. Examining a newborn for hearing loss is crucial when the youngster is born deaf. It is possible to prevent the negative effects of growing up hearing, such as delayed or nonexistent language development, decreased psychosocial wellness, and decreased quality of life, by identifying a deaf child and providing the necessary habilitation.
Regarding acquired hearing loss, many diseases can be avoided with timely diagnosis and treatment. According to a WHO assessment, over 1 billion young people are susceptible to cochlear damage as a result of continuous exposure to loud music, which can cause acoustic trauma and lead to hearing loss.
Significant progress has been made in the last several decades in our knowledge of the physiology of hearing and in the creation of technologies that can both diagnose and treat hearing loss. A deaf person’s life has been revitalised by these technologies since they allow them to communicate and, thus, experience life to the fullest.
What are the common causes?
Both prelingual (occurs before a person learns to talk) and postlingual (occurs after a person learns to speak) hearing loss are possible. Genetic disorders account for the majority of prelingual hearing loss; these can be hereditary (running in families) or sporadic (new onset without family history). Consanguineous marriages, or marriages between relatives, increase the likelihood of these genetic inheritances within the family. Premature birth, low birth weight, neonatal jaundice, maternal illness, and meningitis (an infection that affects the covering of the brain) are other factors that might lead to prelingual hearing loss. With the correct medical attention and vaccination, some of the reasons can be avoided. Early identification and rehabilitation of these deaf children is necessary since the developing brain has a shelf life after which the language development and communication skills fail to develop.
As for Post-lingual hearing loss, again can be genetic, meningitis, viral infection, age related hearing loss, ototoxicity (side effect of a lifesaving drug), ear infection, smoking, noise induced hearing loss, trauma, and conditions such as otosclerosis.
How to Diagnose Hearing Loss?
Thanks to technological advancements, we can now identify and evaluate the degree of hearing loss in infants and young children as well. Since we already know how important early intervention is, it is always best to find out a newborn’s hearing status. Most hospitals now do newborn screenings on a regular basis. Otoacoustic emission testing (OAE) is the first test in the two-step newborn screening programme, which is followed by brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA). These tests are trustworthy and safe. In the event that these tests reveal a kid has hearing loss, the child will undergo additional evaluation to determine the cause of the loss and the available choices for hearing rehabilitation.
As adults, there are various test to detect hearing loss, its severity and the cause of hearing loss. Ranging from simple clinical testing with tunning fork to cortical evoked response telemetry. Technology now allows to narrow down on the exact location of the pathology to execute personalized treatment.
What are the treatment options?
Based on the cause of hearing loss, treatment can be medical, hearing aids, surgical restoration or surgical implantation of hearing devices.
What is implantation otology?
It is a subspeciality of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) which specializes for conditions related to hearing issues and deals with surgically placing a hearing device to restore hearing. There are various implantable devices, such as Cochlear implant, Bone anchored hearing devices, Middle ear implants, totally implantable hearing devices, and Auditory brainstem implants.
Who are candidates for cochlear implant?
Children and adults with severe to profound hearing loss who do not respond well to traditional hearing aids can benefit from cochlear implants. With the use of this unique implantable bioprosthesis, people may now simulate natural hearing by stimulating nerves directly instead of using the cochlea, which is the organ responsible for hearing. Without a question, this bioprosthesis has withstood the test of time and demonstrated its efficacy and safety as a means of regaining sensorineural hearing loss. It has also proven to be safe, effective, and produces better results with bilateral cochlear implantations than single-sided deafness.
Deafness is a silent disability that affects the quality of life of a person. Restoring hearing is of prime importance in prelingual as it’s the important pedestal for language and speech development. Several conditions can lead to hearing loss. Hearing restoration can be achieved with various modalities of treatment based on the etiology. Implantation otology is a specialty that deals with cases of hearing issue and provides restoration of hearing with the help of bio prostheses such as the cochlear implant, bone-anchored implanted, etc. Hearing loss can also be acquired in a normal individual due to unhealthy practices. Living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding unnecessary exposure to loud intensity sounds can prevent the development of hearing loss.