There are a variety of treatments available in the UK for hearing loss sufferers. It really depends on what is causing it as to the one chosen. It’s possible for it to get better on its own. Medication or a simple procedure are also options. If the hearing loss is sudden, a course of steroids could be suggested. If the problem is being caused by a build-up of earwax, this can be treated by your GP or practise nurse. Alternatively, Hear4U will be able to help. Earwax can be removed by using ear-drops. It can be flushed out using water or sucked out using a vacuum. Aside from these procedures it can also be treated using a hearing aid or implant.
These useful devices have always received a bit of a bad rap. This is a shame because they can be a very effective solution for thousands of people. They are a small electronic device that fits in your ear. Sounds are made clearer and louder. However, they will not restore your hearing completely. There are several different types of hearing aid, but tend to fit in one of three different categories.
Behind the ear – the most common. It goes around the top and back of the ear.
In the ear – these fit into the opening of the ear.
Canal hearing aids – these are very small and fit into the opening of the ear. They are barely visible. They can be custom made to fit a person’s ear.
Hearing aids don’t work for everyone. One alternative is to have a special device fitted. It requires an operation that fits it inside or to a person’s skull. There are various types but the most common are:
Bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) – the device is attached to your skull. It works by picking up sounds and sending them to the inner ear by vibrating the bones. It is a good solution if sound can’t reach your inner ear.
Cochlear implants – this is an option for those with severe or permanent hearing loss. Sound is turned into electrical signals and sent to the inner ear. These signals then travel to the brain and are heard as sound.
Auditory brainstem implant (ABI) – this is another option for severe or permanent hearing loss, or if there is a problem with the auditory nerve. Electrical sound signals are sent direct to the brain along wires.
Middle ear implants – these are used if a person has an allergy to the materials a hearing aid is made of or because they don’t fit inside their ear. A device attached to the skin picks up sound. These signals are picked up by a device under the skin and sent along a wire to small hearing bones that are deep in the ear. These then vibrate causing the sound to travel into the inner ear and on to the brain.
A recent study looks like it may be leading to a ground-breaking solution for hearing loss. Scientists are currently looking at ways to repair damaged cells deep inside the ear.