Currently, research is being conducted to try to restore hearing loss due to noise trauma. However, there is no treatment for noise-induced hearing loss or hearing loss due to aging. The key to good hearing is prevention and early detection. Protecting your hearing is vital since hearing cannot be restored. At this time there is no approved treatment for hearing loss.
Hearing is a complex process. Sound waves travel from your outer ear (the part you can see), vibrates your eardrum and the sound energy is amplified by your middle ear bones. These small bones transfer sound vibrations to your inner ear (cochlea). As the sound travels down the inner ear, tiny cells called hair cells are stimulated. Your inner ear hair cells transmit nerve signals to your brain where you interpret the information.
An injury anywhere along this pathway leads to hearing loss. There are two general types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.
Conducting hearing loss is caused by anything blocks sound waves before they enter the inner ear. For example, wax or a foreign body in the outer (external) ear will diminish sound waves from vibrating the eardrum. In addition, any injury to the eardrum, fluid in the middle ear such as an ear infection or injury to the eardrum will lead to a conductive hearing loss.
A sensorineural hearing loss is the result of noise trauma, aging, medications, congenital hearing loss and sudden hearing loss for an unknown reason that injures the inner ear hair cells. Typically, a sensorineural hearing loss is slowly progressive. The exception is an acute sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Unfortunately, a person can lose hearing in one ear immediately for an unknown reason. Some of these patients with medication in time have improvement or resolution of their hearing.
Sensorineural hearing loss currently is not treatable. Once the inner ear hair cells are damaged they don’t regenerate, prevention is the key. Protection from everyday noise as well as occupational noise is important. Hearing protection from loud music as well as wearing appropriate hearing protection from gunfire will aid in avoiding an accidental noise-induced hearing loss.
We live in a world in which we are exposed to significant noise trauma. Attending concerts, sporting events, listening to headphones, mowing the grass, hunting are just a few examples of noise.
If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of hearing loss, please contact us today for an evaluation of your hearing. Also if you are interested you may qualify for a research study conducted by Jeffrey S. Rosenbloom MD to potentially restore your hearing loss from noise trauma. You may call our North Central Location to inquire if you are eligible for the study that will begin in June 2018.