NOT SURE IF YOU SUFFER FROM HEARING LOSS?
How Do Our Ears Work?
The ear has three main parts: the outer ear (including the external auditory canal), middle ear, and inner ear. The outer ear (the part you can see) opens into the ear canal. The eardrum (tympanic membrane) separates the ear canal from the middle ear. The middle ear contains three small bones which help amplify and transfer sound to the inner ear. These three bones, or ossicles, are called the malleus, the incus, and the stapes (also referred to as the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup respectively). The inner ear contains the cochlea which changes sound into neurological signals and the auditory (hearing) nerve, which takes sound to the brain.
“The Invisible Handicap”
A Growing National Problem
3 Types Of Hearing Loss:
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs in the inner ear and is the most common type of hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear and/or auditory nerve due to one episode or more of prolonged exposure to loud noise, certain medications or simply the process of aging. Once damaged, the inner ear cannot be repaired. Sensorineural hearing decreases the ability to differentiate consonant sounds (thus the fine distinctions in words such as hat versus cat). Most sensorineural hearing losses can be treated effectively with hearing aids..
Conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer and middle ear. The most common causes are wax build-up in the ear canal, middle ear infection, a hole in the tympanic membrane or damaged ossicles.In most cases, conductive hearing loss affects the lower frequencies or pitches and makes it difficult to hear vowel sounds. Since vowels contain the "power of speech," the individual with conductive hearing loss perceives speech and other sounds as being much "quieter" than normal. The condition can often be medically treated.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss.
• Over thirty-six million American experience hearing loss
(American Academy of Audiology)
• Those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal. Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to:
- Irritability, negativism and anger
- Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
- Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
- Social rejection and loneliness
- Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
- Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
- Reduced job performance and earning power
- Diminished psychological and overall health
• "Loss of hearing is a serious life issue, a medical condition that is associated with physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Depression, anxiety, emotional instability, phobias, withdrawal, isolation, lessened health status and lessened self-esteem have all been linked to uncorrected hearing loss." (National Council on Aging: Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression, Anxiety, Isolation in Seniors)
• Among seniors, hearing loss is the most prevalent medical condition, following arthritis and hypertension. (University of California, San Francisco – Department of Neurological Surgery)
• There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss: 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old or older have a hearing impairment.
(National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)