The human body is a wonderful, breathtaking, perplexing, confounding construction, isn’t it? The human body usually has no difficulty repairing cuts, scrapes, or broken bones (I mean, sure, it takes some time, but your body can literally heal the giant bones in your legs and arms with little more than a splint and some time).
But when it comes to mending the delicate little hairs in your ear, it’s not going to happen. For now at least.
It’s really unfortunate that your body can pull off such great feats of healing but can’t ever re-grow these tiny hairs. So what’s the deal?
When is Hearing Loss Irreversible?
So let’s have a closer look. You’re waiting in your doctor’s office and you’re digesting the news: you’re losing your hearing. So you ask your doctor if your hearing will ever return. And the answer is… it depends.
It’s a bit anticlimactic, speaking dramatically.
But he’s not wrong. Hearing loss comes in two primary forms:
- Blockage induced hearing loss: You can exhibit every sign of hearing loss when your ear has some type of blockage. A wide variety of things, from something gross (earwax) to something frightening (a tumor), can be the cause of this blockage. The good news is that once the blockage is removed, your hearing often goes back to normal.
- Hearing loss due to damage: But hearing loss has another more prevalent type. This kind of hearing loss, called sensorineural hearing loss, is irreversible. This is how it works: In your ear, there are tiny hairs that vibrate when struck by sound waves. When vibrations are transformed into signals, they are sent to the brain which renders them into the sounds you perceive. But over time, loud sounds can cause these hairs to be damaged to the point where treatment is needed.
So the bottom line is this: you can recover from one type of hearing loss and you probably won’t know which one you have without having a hearing test.
Treating Hearing Loss
So at this time there’s no “cure” for sensorineural hearing loss (though scientists are working on it). But that doesn’t mean you can’t find treatment for your hearing loss. Here are a few ways that the proper treatment may help you:
- Successfully manage hearing loss symptoms you might already have.
- Protect and maintain your remaining hearing.
- Stay active socially, keeping isolation at bay.
- Help fend off cognitive decline.
- Make sure your overall quality of life is unaffected or remains high.
Of the many types of treatment available, which one is the right choice for you depends on the severity of your hearing loss. One of the most prevalent treatments is rather simple: hearing aids.
Why Are Hearing Aids a Practical Treatment For Hearing Loss?
Hearing aids can help you get back to the people and things you enjoy. With the help of hearing aids, you can begin to hear conversations, your television, your phone, and sounds of nature once more. Hearing aids can also take some of the pressure off of your brain because you won’t be struggling to hear.
The Best Protection is Prevention
Loud sounds and other things that would damage your hearing should be avoided and your ears should be protected against them. Hearing well is crucial to your general health and well-being. Routine hearing care, like annual hearing tests, is just another type of self-care.