In 1927, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association founded better hearing and speech month to raise awareness about hearing and speech disorders to help people identify if they or someone they love need help and treatment. At Hough Ear Institute, our mission is to cure deafness worldwide, one patient, one disease at a time, so all who have ears will hear. We want to prevent and reverse hearing loss through research and be an educational resource about all things hearing related.
What causes Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear or auditory (hearing) system is not working in the usual way. The ear is divided into three parts:
Outer Ear is made up of: the part we see on the sides of our heads, known as pinna; the ear canal; and the eardrum, sometimes called the tympanic membrane, which separates the outer and middle ear.
Middle Ear is made up of: the eardrum and three small bones called ossicles that send the movement of the eardrum to the inner ear.
Inner Ear is made up of: the snail shaped organ for hearing known as the cochlea, the semicircular canals that help with balance, and the nerves that go to the brain.
Medical professionals have created three different classifications for hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss refers to damaged structures of the middle ear, typically reversible through surgery. Sensorineural hearing loss, on the other hand, often means irreversible damage to the inner ear, specifically the death of hair cells within the cochlea or injury to the auditory nerve. Hazardous and prolonged exposure to loud noise is one of the largest causes of sensorineural hearing loss; genetics, viruses, disease, bacteria, head trauma, drug or antibiotic side effects (ototoxicity), and aging are also major contributors. Mixed hearing loss, as the name suggests, means a patient struggles from a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Some of the most common signs of hearing loss in Adults are:
- Having to ask people to repeat themselves fairly often
- Needing to turn the TV up louder than other people
- Feeling like people are mumbling when they speak
- People comment on how loud you speak
- You struggle understanding what other people are saying in crowded rooms or places with lots of background noise
Some of the most common signs of hearing loss in Children are:
- Delayed speech
- Unclear speech
- Does not follow directions, which is sometimes mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss
- Often says, “Huh?”
- Turns the TV volume up too high
Whether people need hearing aids, surgery, or routine ear cleaning, restored hearing drastically improves people’s quality of life, restoring: relationships, physical health, confidence, mental health, and social life. At Hough Ear Institute we are on a mission to prevent and reverse permanent hearing loss and currently researching effective drug delivery systems for inner ear hear cell regeneration.
Click here to learn more about the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.