Hearing Disability

About three in one thousand babies are born with a hearing disability or otherwise known as hearing impairment. This disability is one of the most common birth defects. A hearing disability can also develop later in life, and can happen because the person was born with ear parts that did not form correctly and do not function well, while other causes can be due to a later injury or illness that includes middle ear fluid, serious infections, head injury, listening to very loud music especially through headphones, and repeated exposure to loud sounds such as machineries.

A hearing disability is a decrease in the ability to recognize sound and can affect any creature that hears.  There are some different types of hearing disability which include:

Conductive Hearing Disability which happens when there is a problem with a part of the outer or middle ear.  Nearly all children with conductive hearing disability have mild hearing loss and is usually temporary and in most cases be medically treated.

Now, when the cochlea is not functioning properly because of damaged or destroyed tiny hair cells, it results in Sensory Hearing Disability. Depending on the gravity of hearing loss, one may be able to hear in quiet but not in noise; or hear most sounds; or no sounds at all. Sensory Hearing Disability is almost always permanent and in the process a person’s ability to talk me be affected.

Neural Hearing Disability happens when a there exists a problem with the connection from the cochlea to the brain,  this type of hearing disability is related to the nerve and so neural loss means that the nerve carrying the messages from the cochlea to the brain is dented.

An audiologist is someone specially trained to test and help problems related to hearing loss and is generally recommended by a patient’s doctor.  The audiologist conducts different types of tests and if a person is diagnosed with one, they are immediately recommended treatment and suggested to work with a special team.  The team can help find the best way for a child to learn and communicate.

Treatment of a hearing disability depends on the type of hearing loss, how severe it is, and other needs.  General treatments include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, medicines, and operations. The possibility of hearing again in kids diagnosed early and given the proper treatment, is positively high.

In the year 2005, a research team led by Dr. Yehoash Raphael from the University of Michigan, had successful results with the re-growth of cochlea cells in test subjects.  The test subjects of this study were Guinea Pigs, it should be noted however, that the re-growth of cochlear hair cells does not mean the restoration of hearing sensitivity because the sensory cells may or may not make connections with ‘signal-carrying’ neurons from hair cells to the brain.

Today’s high-tech world has presented various ways of assisting and helping people with  hearing disability to be able to function well in the community, as well as further studies being made to develop devices that would enhance a better quality of life for hearing impaired individuals.