Friday, 14 October 2016

Hearing and Hearing loss


Every aspect of an individual’s life is enriched with sound. Every sound brings forth a memory, a way we can identify with the world. We can hear it in the crashing of waves upon the shore, pattering of rain upon a window, the singing of birds, a crowded room resonating with many voices. The sense of hearing enables us to experience the world around us. It allows us to collect, process and interpret sounds continuously and without effort. We may take this special sense of communication for granted. However, communication is one of man's most important skills, and communication depends on the sense of hearing. For children, hearing sets them on a path to the development of speech, intellectual and psychosocial skills which prepare them for educational attainment.

Hearing impairment is the most common sensory loss in the human population, affecting more than 250 million people in the world. About 3 in every 1,000 babies worldwide are born with hearing impairment, making it the most common birth defect. Inserting a great importance to awareness of this difficulty owing to the impact it has on the quality of life individuals lead. In order to understand how and why hearing loss happens, it helps to know how the ear works. The ear is made up of three different sections: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. These parts work together so you can hear and process sounds. The outer ear is the part you can see. Its function is to pick up sound waves and thereafter these waves travel through the outer ear canal. When the sound waves reach the eardrum between the outer and middle ear, the eardrum starts to vibrate. When the eardrum vibrates, it moves three tiny bones within the ear. They help sound move along on its journey into the inner ear. The vibrations then travel to the inner ear were the cochlea is situated, which is filled with liquid and lined with cells that have thousands of tiny hairs on their surfaces. The sound vibrations make the tiny hairs move which send the sound information to your hearing nerve, which then transmit it to your brain, thereby allowing you to hear. There are different types of hearing loss: conductive, sensory and mixed (conductive and sensory combined). A Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with a part of the outer or middle ear. Most conductive hearing loss is temporary as there is medical treatment available in most situations.

A Sensory hearing loss happens when the cochlea is not working efficiently because the tiny hair cells are damaged or destroyed. Sensory hearing impairment is almost always permanent and the ability to hear speech normally may be affected. People of all ages experience gradual hearing loss, often due to the natural aging process or long exposure to loud noise. It can occur because a person was born with parts of the ear that didn't form correctly and don't work well. Other problems can happen later due to injury or illness, including ear infections, listening to very loud music (especially through headphones or ear buds) and other serious infections such as meningitis.

An audiologist is someone who is specially trained to test and help with the difficulties related to hearing loss. Hearing can be tested from birth and at any point throughout life. If an audiologist finds that a hearing loss is present, he or she will recommend treatment and the best way to improve communication. Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse. If you have a hearing problem, you can get help. An audiologist will help you find strategies to keep lines of communication open with friends and family.

Nadiya Soomar Audiologists
031 – 2012081 / 076 105 6688

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