on hearing loss

The Ear and How we Hear

Sound travels through the ear canal to the ear-drum setting it into vibration. These vibrations are transferred to three very small bones (anvil, hammer and stirrup) in the middle ear. When the stirrup vibrates, it causes movement of the fluid in the inner ear which stimulates the cilia cells for hearing. Stimulation of these sensory cells generates an electrical signal that travels to the brain via the auditory nerve. This is how the ear functions.

Hearing Loss

Most hearing problems are caused by damage to the nerve cells. This type of hearing problem is commonly called �nerve deafness.� There are many causes of nerve deafness. However, the most common causes are exposure to noise and the aging process. When the inner ear or auditory nerve is damaged, a weak, distorted and incomplete message is sent to the brain and understanding becomes difficult, if not impossible. Nerve deafness is not medically curable.

Early Detection is Important

Most hearing losses are due to nerve deafness, a condition that gradually gets worse over time. The first signs of a hearing loss are often subtle, straining to hear or blaming others for mumbling. Certain high-pitched sounds (�F� and �S� for example), will become difficult to distinguish and you may notice that you can hear someone speaking but not understand what they�re saying. The person developing a hearing loss may find it difficult to enjoy TV or to hear the telephone ring. Social situations may be avoided because it is more difficult to understand when two or more people are speaking, especially when background noise is present.

Nerve Deafness can be Helped

Although nerve deafness cannot be cured, it can be helped. Hearing help may be available for some people with nerve deafness. Early detection of the hearing loss is very important. If you or a loved one suspect nerve deafness, have your hearing checked today. It is the first step toward better hearing and a more enjoyable life.