Hearing loss is a health problem that affects the lives of billions of people globally. It’s no wonder there are so many questions about whether it’s possible to regain hearing after it’s lost. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as taking a pill or undergoing a quick procedure. Today we’ll separate fact from fiction and explain the ways hearing loss might be restored.
Types of hearing loss
- The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural. This is the result of damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve pathway, most commonly caused by natural aging or exposure to loud sounds. Sensorineural hearing loss is almost always permanent. This means in most cases, it can’t be reversed. However, it can be
treated – but the sooner the better.
- Conductive hearing loss is less common. It’s caused by an obstruction or other abnormality in your outer or middle ear, preventing sound waves from traveling through. Conductive hearing loss can be either permanent or temporary, and in some cases, it can be cured completely.
Only your hearing care professional can help discover the cause of your hearing loss and prescribe the right treatment. If you’re not quite sure if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you can take our free online hearing test. It’s quick and easy!
Types of surgery for hearing loss
- Cochlear implants. You may have heard of cochlear implants before. They work by sending electrical impulses to the auditory nerve, which can be translated by the brain as meaningful sound. It can sound like a great solution but is reserved for a small number of people who meet a set of strict criteria – one of which is a previous use of hearing aids with no improvement.
- Stapedectomy. This procedure is most often performed to treat otosclerosis, a condition where the stapes (a bone in the middle ear) gets fixed in position, resulting in conductive hearing loss. A stapedectomy will insert a prosthesis to allow for the sound waves to travel to the inner ear.
- Insertion of ear ventilation tubes. This surgery inserts ventilation tubes to relieve pressure behind the eardrum. It’s typically used to relieve fluid build-up from infection or anatomy, most commonly in children. It won’t have an effect on those with sensorineural hearing loss.
Can prescription drugs reverse hearing loss?
Imagine if there was a magical little pill to cure your hearing loss! While we’re not there yet, there have been some interesting developments in the use of pharmaceuticals.
One Study has shown sea anemones might be able to restore damaged inner ear hair cells in mice, while another discovered similarities between the cells in the intestines and those in the cochlea. Also, some hearing loss, including sudden hearing loss, can sometimes be treated with steroids.
These developments are exciting for the scientific community, but if you’re looking for a fast cure, you could be waiting a while.
Can you really reverse hearing loss?
In reality, only a select few types of hearing loss can be fully restored or “cured.” The majority are treated with hearing devices. Although hearing aids can’t restore your hearing, Oticon’s innovative technology can treat it, allowing you to fully enjoy sound again, as well as support your brain’s health.
Permanent hearing loss cannot be completely cured, but it is still important to treat it and monitor it for any changes to avoid it getting worse. And by visiting a hearing care professional, you’ve already started the journey towards better hearing.
To schedule your hearing test, talk to a hearing care provider in your area today.