Some people are born with better hearing

Hypacusis (hearing loss)

Definition: what is hearing loss?

We speak of hypacusis (or hearing loss) when hearing loss occurs. The definition of hypacusis is hearing loss. But it can express itself in different ways:

  • due to a loss of volume
  • through a loss of understanding

If conversations or noises are quieter than before, then it could be a loss of volume, with the sound in the ear being weakened. This is due to a faulty or severely weakened transmission of the sound. Possible causes are e.g. B. excess ear wax, fluid in the ear or infections in the ear, but also a tear in the eardrum can be responsible.

Noises and conversations are difficult to understand? Then there could be a loss of understanding. It is often triggered by damage to the hair cells of the ear. Heredity, long-term exposure to noise, or certain medications are other factors that promote hypacusis. Various diseases such as B. meningitis promote hearing loss. Fortunately, there are many ways to make up for hearing loss.

Where does hearing loss begin?

To assess when one is hard of hearing, pitch and volume are examined more closely. The hearing threshold, i.e. the perception limit of a hearing impression, is determined via these two units. A hearing loss of up to 20 decibels, based on the hearing threshold, is still in the range of normal hearing. From a hearing loss of 25 to 20 decibels, there is a mild hearing loss, the first stage of hearing loss.

What types of hearing loss are there?

To determine the degree of hearing loss, it is classified into the four levels of hearing loss. In addition, the medical professional and the hearing care professional use various criteria to differentiate between the type of hearing loss:

Inner ear hearing loss: It affects the sensitivity of the ear to sound; parts of the inner ear are damaged or functions are impaired.

Conductive hearing loss: Here, the sound arriving via the eardrum is not properly transmitted from the middle ear to the inner ear.

Old age hearing loss: It develops from a slowly progressive sensorineural hearing loss and affects both ears. Tinnitus is often associated with old-age hearing loss.

Hearing impairment in children: It should be treated as early as possible in children, for example to prevent language problems.

Hypacusis: possible causes

Sometimes a hypacusis occurs on both sides, sometimes it is just a hypacusis on the right or a hypacusis on the left. Soothing: Many forms of hearing loss can be treated in whole or in part. Possible triggers for hearing loss:

noise

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, regardless of whether you are constantly working on construction machinery or always turning up the MP3 player at full volume. Because noise disturbs the oxygen supply to the ear and thus its functionality. Perhaps you can imitate the professional musicians: Many of them wear tailor-made hearing protection as a preventive measure at concerts or loud events.

Age

The natural aging process also affects the ear. The fine sensory cells in the ear show signs of wear and tear that lead to hearing loss. It is particularly unfavorable when additional factors are added, e.g. B. constant noise, medication, excessive nicotine and / or alcohol consumption. When it comes to age-related hypacusis, you are by no means alone: ​​around 40 percent of those over 65 have a more or less severe hearing loss, which is also known as age-related hearing loss.

Inheritance

Some forms of hypacusis are hereditary. If there are already people in the family with hearing loss, there is a likelihood that this impairment will be passed on and that this can lead to hearing loss in children. Especially with children and babies, the earlier this hearing loss is recognized and treated, the better. Because hearing impaired affects the entire development of the child.

Diseases

Bacterial and viral infections such as B. otitis media, measles or meningitis can affect hearing. It can also cause otosclerosis. In the process, the ossicles become calcified, which means that they can no longer move freely and transmit vibrations - and thus the sound - only inadequately.

Ear wax

Annoying but mostly harmless: ear wax (or cerumen) can form a plug in the ear and cause hearing loss. Excessive wax may also indicate a metabolic disorder. If in doubt, ask your ear, nose and throat specialist.

Medication, alcohol and smoking

Excessive alcohol consumption and heavy smoking have been shown to affect the functionality of the hearing and can lead to hearing loss. Certain drugs hit your ears too, e.g. For example, cancer drugs, diuretics, or agents used to treat malaria. Ask your doctor if you feel your hearing is harder and you are taking medication.

water

Whether diving or bathing: If too much or dirty water gets into the ear, it can lead to ear canal inflammation and thus to hearing loss. Do you swim a lot or are you even scuba divers? Appropriate hearing protection for swimming makes your ears "waterproof".

Hypacusis: Recognizing Symptoms

How can you recognize the first symptoms of hypacusis in yourself (or people around you)? By paying attention. For example, look out for the following signs:

  • You have to ask more often in conversation because you did not understand what was said.
  • Conversations behind you or further away can be difficult to follow.
  • You often need to step closer to the person you are speaking to or bend over to understand what is being said.
  • You have the feeling that the television or radio is set too low, while others perceive the volume as normal.
  • You often have the impression that people around you are speaking indistinctly.
  • It is difficult for you to follow when several people are talking.

These are symptoms of hearing loss, some of which you can see in yourself. Other signs are more likely to be noticed by your counterpart, for example:

  • You often appear restless in conversation.
  • You give inappropriate answers to questions.
  • You speak louder than the person you are speaking to.

Do you have the impression that one or more of the signs apply to you or someone around you? A hearing test provides clarity. Make an appointment with your Amplifon hearing aid acoustician right away.

Hypacusis: treatment options

Some hearing problems are easy to fix. If the ear is clogged with wax, the ENT doctor will blow the ear canal free with a suction device. Sometimes even warm water is enough. Better leave that to the specialist. Do not try using cotton swabs: this can injure you and make the wax more solid.

If a bacterial infection is the cause, the ear doctor will prescribe antibiotics, for example decongestant medication for swelling of the inner ear. If the eardrum is injured or the stapes in the ear do not work properly, the specialist can insert a prosthesis.

The hearing loss is already clearly noticeable and is probably due to age or noise? Then a high-performance hearing aid is the method of choice. These innovative, almost invisible models effortlessly compensate for hearing impairments. The new generation of hearing aids are intelligent high-tech systems that can be connected to a hi-fi system, television or smartphone or even controlled via an app. This provides a completely new listening experience for those with hearing loss. Our hearing aids: a help against hypacusis. Your Amplifon hearing care professional will be happy to advise you.

Can you operate on hearing loss?

Hearing impairment can only be operated on in very few cases. This is only possible if the hearing loss is caused by a mechanical problem, such as a hole in the eardrum. Then this is operated on and closed again so that the sound can be directed back into the inner ear and the hearing ability is given. In other cases, you have to rely on a technical aid, such as a hearing aid, which is offered in different models. A cochlear implant can also be surgically inserted under the skin behind the ear. The electrode is then placed in the cochlea, where it releases electrical impulses that stimulate the auditory nerve. The operation takes about two hours per ear and is performed under general anesthesia.

When do I need a hearing aid?

In order to know when you need a hearing aid, a free hearing test is recommended first, which will clarify the degree of hearing loss. In general, one can say that there is a need for a hearing aid if the hearing loss in the better ear is more than 30% or if the speech volume is 65 decibels (dB) 20% of the words are no longer understood. In general, if the hearing loss is mild, a hearing aid can be recommended by an ENT doctor or a hearing care professional. Depending on the needs and demands of the patient, different hearing aid models can help improve hearing.

Prevent hearing loss

In order to prevent hearing damage, it is important that we protect our ears with suitable hearing protection as soon as we are exposed to loud noises. It is advisable to wear hearing protection when mowing the lawn, at loud concerts or when riding a motorcycle, as these noises can damage our hearing in the long term. But ear diseases such as otitis media should also be treated as early as possible so that the natural protective barrier of the ear is not impaired.

Is hearing loss a disability?

For the classification of the “degree of disability” (GdB) for the severely handicapped card, the “Health Care Ordinance” has been decisive since January 2009. The hearing loss is assessed from appropriate tables and various criteria of the age at which the hearing impairment occurred or the extent to which speech development is impaired. The hearing loss will then be noted in the handicap ID. In general, it can be said that with moderate hearing loss in one ear, the GdB is 10. If both ears are affected by hearing loss, the GdB can be classified as 10 to 20 even with a mild hearing impairment.