Do you think you have a hearing loss but are holding onto the hope that your hearing will improve as you get older?
Do you know someone that had surgery on their ears and their hearing improved and you’re hoping for the same outcome?
Well I have good news and bad news for you today.
The good new is that some types of hearing loss can improve.
If you experience a conductive hearing loss, the hearing impairment may actually improve as you get older.
The most common cause of a conductive hearing loss is an ear infection, which are most common in children. Ear infections, if treated medically or surgically, can resolve permanently. Once they do, the conductive hearing loss caused by that ear infection will be gone, and the hearing will return to normal.
Other causes of conductive hearing loss, such as allergies, otosclerosis or cholesteatoma, may also be medically managed and hearing improved.
The bad news is many types of hearing loss will not improve over time.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss and is most often the result of the loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea. Most cases of sensorineural hearing loss, can not be treated with medication or surgery.
These hair cells can be destroyed by noise, medications, infection, disease, or just simply a part of the aging process, known as presbycusis. Once these sensory hair cells are damaged, they can not be restored. Sensorineural hearing loss can also be a hereditary condition affecting the cochlea and/or auditory nerve.
If you want to see just how old your ears really are, check out this video below.
Preventing Hearing Loss
Some causes of sensorineural hearing loss are unpreventable, but other causes, such as noise exposure and vitamin deficiencies are preventable causes of hearing loss.
It makes sense that the less loud noise you’re exposed to, the less likely you are to damage your ears and hearing. Even though it has been a proven fact for many years that noise can cause hearing loss, many people still don’t take action.
One other overlooked cause of hearing loss is a poor diet or nutrient deficiency.
The function of our hearing is dependent upon the efficiency of our cardiovascular, neural, and metabolic health. It makes sense then that our hearing is linked to our general health. A recent study at the University of Florida found a relationship between a better diet and better hearing. Healthy eating may not actually improve hearing that is already lost, but it could play a part in prevention.
The Future of Hearing Restoration
Research has been focusing a lot on the restoration of the sensory hair cells in the cochlea which cause sensorineural hearing loss. At this point in time there are no therapies, medications, vitamins, or supplements of any kind that have been proven to reverse sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing technology, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive listening devices help to manage the hearing loss, but as soon as you remove the technology, the hearing impairment is still there.
Some promising research in hearing restoration include: stem cells, gene therapy and cell therapy. Hearing loss prevention, on the other hand, is focusing on the use of vitamins to prevent hearing loss altogether, or slow down its progression.
Many people are waiting on one of these hearing restoration methods to manage their hearing loss with the hope that it will be an easier solution.
Lasix has given hope to millions of people with visual impairments. Those with hearing impairment are waiting for their magic pill or procedure now too. While researchers are getting closer, it is likely that prevention of hearing loss will precede treatment for reversal of hearing loss.