About 16% of the world population suffers from mild or severe hearing loss, representing nearly a billion people. Hearing Loss is characterized by increasing difficulty in hearing, interpreting, and understanding the sounds around us. Whether mild or severe, hearing loss can quickly become a problem and place the person in a situation of disability (Sensory and social).
Hearing Loss is generally linked to aging, but there are many causes that can trigger or even worsen hearing loss.
Degree Of Hearing Loss Or Symptoms Of Deafness
There are several levels or degrees of deafness, with which several Symptoms/consequences are associated:
Degree Of Loss Threshold In DB Symptoms
The degree of loss can be grouped or categorized into the following:
- Normal: Hearing from 0 to 20dB, in this condition, the person will experience no particular difficulty in a quiet or noisy environment.
- Slight Loss: 20 to 40 dB, there will be difficulty hearing weak or distant voices and conversation, especially when you’re in a noisy environment.
- Average Loss: 40 to 70 dB, the perception of words becomes difficult, they must be loud so that you can understand them easily. You tend to increase the volume of television, radio, MP3, etc. Following a group conversation becomes very complicated and tiring.
- Severe Loss: 70 to 90 dB, you can not hear speech unless it is loud and close to you, and it is very difficult for you to follow a conversation, even impossible if you’re not equipped with hearing aids. Some loud sounds remain audible.
- Depp Loss: 90 dB and above, most sounds become imperceptible, regardless of the listening environment. You can not communicate, following a conversation is impossible without hearing aids, and some extremely loud sounds remain audible.
- Total Deafness: 120 dB, no measurable hearing capacity.
What Are The Causes Of Deafness?
▪️ Aging: With age, the hearing system deteriorates. The hair cells in the inner ear gradually disappear, causing a decline in hearing abilities. This type of deafness is called presbycusis, it is said to be natural, mainly affecting people aged over 50. This is very similar to presbyopia.
▪️ Auditory Trauma: Hearing Loss can occur following sound trauma, this hearing loss is due to occasional or repeated exposure to noise of excessive intensity, causing excessive stimulation of the hair cells in the ear.
Medical Causes Of Hearing Loss
It is very possible that hearing loss is of medical origin, this is particularly the case for certain infections that can damage the nerves of the ear or the brain ( measles, mumps, meningitis, scarlet fever, etc.).
The use of certain medications ( ototoxic) can also cause significant damage to the inner ear in the event of excessive consumption in the short and long term.
Some antibiotics may also lead to deafness ( aminoglycosides, erythromycin, vancomycin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, anticancer drugs..)
To prevent risks, if you have a predisposition to deafness or already existing hearing loss, talk to your doctor when prescribing treatment.
The Consequences Of Deafness
As stated earlier, hearing loss places the person in a handicap situation, on several levels( physical, mental, social).
The first risk for a hearing-impaired person is to gradually move away from social life and avoid interaction with those around them as much as possible (Outings with friends, family meals, group activities, etc.)
The progressive exclusion of people with deafness is a reality that must not be forgotten or minimized.
More generally, there are several consequences of hearing loss:
▪️ Physical Consequences: frequent fatigue, headaches, tinnitus, stress problems, hypertension, loss of balance, etc.
▪️ Psychological Consequences: depression, difficulty concentrating, shame, loss of self-confidence, etc.
▪️ Social Consequences: isolation, increasing difficulty in communicating.
If hearing loss is from damage to the inner ear, a hearing aid can be helpful. An audiologist can talk about how hearing aids can help, and what kinds there are.