Bilateral Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is traditionally defined as any defect in the ability to perceive or understand sound. While hearing loss most often affects only one ear, it can sometimes cause impairments in both—which typically results in a diagnosis of bilateral hearing loss. Bilateral hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors, and is often classified as being either sensorineural or conductive in nature. Individuals who suffer from hearing loss—or know someone who does—may want to consult with a trained physician to ensure optimal management. While bilateral hearing loss is most commonly chronic in nature, its symptoms may be lessened with the use of a hearing aid or other similar devices.
What is Bilateral Hearing Loss?
As mentioned previously, bilateral hearing loss occurs when there is an inability to perceive sound in both ears. In most cases, individuals who suffer from bilateral hearing loss are diagnosed as being deaf. While most hearing loss occurs slowly, sudden hearing loss is also possible. Individuals who experienced gradual or sudden hearing loss should consult with a physician as soon as possible to ensure appropriate care.
Bilateral Hearing Loss Causes
Hearing loss causes are numerous and varied. Traditionally, bilateral hearing loss is classified according to its root causes. Sensorineural hearing loss, for example, is a specific condition in which there is damage to the vestibulocochlear nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss can be either congenital, or acquired through the use of certain medications or exposure to loud environments. In contrast, conductive hearing loss occurs due to dysfunction of the sound waves within the outer ear. Unlike sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss is most commonly associated with physical damage, such as the build-up of large amounts of ear wax or ear-drum perforation. In most cases, conductive hearing loss can be managed with professional medical care. Finally, sudden hearing loss is often caused by extremely loud noises, physical damage, or severe infection, and may or may not be reversible.
Management of Bilateral Hearing Loss
In the past, being deaf was often viewed as a permanent condition. Today, there are a number of methods that can be used to treat or manage hearing loss in individuals who are deaf. The use of hearing aids appears to be most effective in individuals who have developed mild to moderate hearing loss over the course of a lifetime. In contrast, people who have been deaf from birth may benefit from the use of cochlear implants, which are an electric device surgically implanted into the inner ear. As medical technology improves, more and more research about the treatment and management of hearing loss is sure to occur.
Individuals who are interested in learning more about hearing loss and hearing loss causes may want to visit the following web pages:
- John Tracy Clinic: The Leading Diagnostic and Education Center for Young Children with Hearing Loss
- Bilateral Hearing Loss: Two Hearing Aids are Better Than One
- Unilateral and Mild Bilateral Hearing Loss in Children: Past and Current Perspectives
- Hearing Loss
- Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss Associated with Point Mutation in Mitochondrial Genome
- Sudden Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss Following Polysubstance Narcotic Overdose
- Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of Hearing Loss
- Hearing Loss in Children: Data and Statistics