All you need to know about hearing loss and what to do about it.

Before we jump into the topic at hand, let us dive into what ears do. Believe it to not, the fact is that ears are more than just organs for hearing; ears are a complicated system of parts that not only allows us as humans to hear but also allows us to walk and keep our balance.

Photo by Mark Paton on Unsplash

So how do they work?

The external ear, middle ear, and inner ear are the three primary sections of the ear. Though they are parts of the ear, all of them have varied and vital functions that help us with hearing and balance.

The external ear, also known as the auricle or pinna, is the cartilage and skin that is attached outside of our head. It functions similarly to a megaphone but instead of amplifying what comes out of the megaphone, it works in the opposite direction where it absorbs sound waves around you and translates them into sound. According to Nebraska Medicine, sound waves are channelled via the external ear and pumped into the external auditory canal. The auditory canal is the tube section of the ear opening that is visible to us when looked closely.

The tympanic membrane, often known as the eardrum, receives sound waves after passing through the auditory canal. When sound waves touch the thin layer of connective tissue, it vibrates similarly to when a drum is struck by a drumstick. The vibrations then penetrate through the tympanic membrane and into the tympanic cavity, commonly known as the middle ear. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the tympanic cavity is lined with mucosa and filled with air and the auditory ossicles, which are three tiny bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the stapes pushes a structure called the oval window in and out when the bones vibrate (NLM). This action is transmitted to the inner ear and the cochlea, a spiral-shaped fluid-filled structure that houses the spiral organ of the Corti, the hearing receptor organ. This organ’s tiny hair cells convert vibrations into electrical impulses that sensory nerves carry to the brain.

Balance in all things.

According to Healthline, the eustachian tube, also known as the pharyngotympanic tube, balances air pressure in the middle ear with atmospheric pressure. This technique assists individuals in maintaining their equilibrium. Because it contains receptors that regulate a sensation of equilibrium, the vestibular complex in the inner ear is also vital for balance. The vestibulocochlear nerve connects the inner ear to the brain, carrying sound and balance information.

Hearing loss. An unavoidable fate? Or a controlled outcome?

Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

Hearing loss isn’t just a problem that affects the elderly. Hearing loss affects two to three out of every 1,000 newborns. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 15% of Americans aged 18 and above have some form of hearing loss. Even so, according to the NIDCD, age is the main perpetrator of hearing loss in people aged 20 to 69. Though the correlation strength between hearing loss and old age is strong, ear injuries can also but a significant factor for hearing loss at a young age.

According to The Centre for Audiology, teenage hearing loss is on the rise in the United States, with recent research indicating that one in every five teenagers has at least minor hearing loss issues. The ubiquitous earphones attached to smartphones and portable music players are to blame for the 30 per cent increase in a teenage hearing loss since the early 1990s. Teens are more prone to participate in potentially harmful hearing habits such as listening to loud music and using lawn and power equipment without hearing protection. Teens are also aware of the dangers yet choose not to safeguard their hearing, according to the results. Teenagers who sustain minor hearing damage during their adolescent years are at risk of developing accelerated hearing loss later in life.

What to do about it.

The bad news is that It is almost impossible to restore hearing once it has been lost. Hearing loss usually necessitates surgery or the use of hearing aids. The good news is that according to the National Library of Medicine, we can completely avoid damaging our ears by following the 60-60 rule when using earphones or headphones. For no more than 60 minutes at a time, use no more than 60% of full volume.

People who engage in loud activities or hobbies, such as athletic events, music concerts, shooting sports, motorcycle riding, or lawn mowing, should use earplugs or noise-cancelling or noise-blocking headphones to protect their hearing. Another strategy to avoid hearing loss and damage is to keep your ears clean. According to Mayo Clinic cleaning the external ear using a cloth is recommended. Then, to soften the wax and assist it to drain out of the ear, put a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial drops in the ear. Adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to the mix could also assist.


Zack Yong is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Zack Yong
Author: Zack Yong

Fulltime learning software engineering. Part time Freelance Writer.