ZocdocAnswersIs there any way to reverse hearing loss?

Question

Is there any way to reverse hearing loss?

Worked in a loud factory for years and I think it damaged my hearing. My GF says I listen to the TV too loud and I'm always asking her to repeat herself. any way I can reverse my hearing loss? Are there therapies for bad ears?

Answer

Sorry to hear that you think you may have damaged your hearing. There are many different types of hearing loss. In general hearing can be broken down into two separate groups: conductive hearing loss, and sensorineural hearing loss. In order to understand both types of hearing loss, you first need to understand some basic principles on how your hearing works. (forgive me if this is too basic). Sound waves normally travel down the ear canal and run into the tympanic membrane (ear drum). This moves the ear drum at a frequency that matches the frequency of the sound wave. There is a chain of bones that is attached to the tympanic membrane and transmits the mechanical (movement) signal to the cochlea. Everything up to this point is called the conductive (i.e. mechanical) part of your hearing. The cochlea then turns that mechanical signal into an electrical signal and sends it to your brain via the auditory nerve. Everything from the cochlea to the brain is called the sensorineural part of hearing. In general, it is typically the sensorineural part of hearing that is damaged from chronic noise exposure, or noise abuse (like working in a factory for a long time without hearing protection). Unfortunately there isn't a lot that can be done to "fix" this type of hearing loss. However there are definitely treatments...hearing aids may be beneficial for example, or even potentially a cochlear implant. This is all assuming that you have a sensorineural loss in the first place, just from the history that you gave me. I would recommend making an appointment with an otolaryngologist (ENT) to get evaluated. They will likely order an audiogram (hearing test) to tell you if you have a hearing loss, and if so, exactly what type and how bad. They will also be able to more specifically discuss with you different treatment options if you do have a hearing loss. I hope that this was helpful, and I wish you all the best.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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