Do Not Ignore Your Hearing Health

In North America, there has been an increase in hearing loss among people of all ages. In an effort to tackle this problem, many health departments in the United States mandate that primary and secondary schools conduct hearing tests on students at specific intervals. It is important to detect any possible hearing problems at an early age. Therefore, children in Kindergarten may receive their first hearing test. Upon graduating from high school, students in the United States should have been tested multiple times for any hearing impairment.

In children, there are plenty of factors that can lead to hearing loss. For example, MP3 players blast very loud music right into the ear drums. Listening to music through these digital devices, therefore, increases the risk of physical damage to the anatomical structures of the ear. Teenagers may also get ear damage by attending parties and concerts that blast loud music through speakers and live audio equipment. It is really unfortunate that the young generation is so vulnerable to hearing loss. It’s the job of parents, educators and healthcare workers to minimize the widespread prevalence of hearing impairment in North America and the rest of the world.

There are two main culprits in hearing loss. In conductive hearing loss, sound does not effectively travel through the eardrum. This may be due to physical obstructions inside the ear canal that include infections. Sensorineural hearing loss implies that the cochlea is permanently damaged beyond repair. Therefore, the nerves that sense and interpret sound cannot function properly. Wearing a hearing aid is the only way to deal with both types of hearing loss.

Before a hearing aid is selected for a child or adult, a proper hearing test has to be administered. This exam essentially detects the sensitivity of the ears to different sounds. A licensed audiologist uses an audiometer to conduct the hearing test. The person that is being tested wears a set of headphones as the audiometer releases different signals. The signals are usually delivered to only one side of the headphones. The person being tested must raise the hand when a sound is heard to confirm the signal. Sounds are produced at different frequencies to detect any major problems in hearing impairment. A graph is plotted in real time to indicate the sound frequencies that give the person being tested the most trouble. Weber and Rinne tests may also be performed during a full scale-hearing evaluation. For example, a tuning fork may be held to a person’s ear and then allowed to vibrate. The fork produces different frequencies that may or may not be heard by a damaged ear.

During a routine hearing test, some other problems in the ear may be detected. For example, Tinnitus is often found in patients that complain of hearing impairment. Tinnitus refers to a ringing in the inner ear when there is no external sound coming from anywhere. Noise-induced ear damage may lead to Tinnitus as well as permanent hearing loss. Monitoring is essential to the overall well-being of children and adults. Hearing impairment can create some social and professional problems for a lifetime. There should be no stigma associated with wearing hearing aids that help individuals experience the world just like normal people that are capable of hearing quite well.

 



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