Impaired hearing

Impaired hearing may be congenital or develop over the years. The treatment you receive depends on the cause of your hearing loss and what needs you have. You can always get help if you have hearing loss. This applies to both technical aids and support from hearing care personnel.

Symptoms of impaired hearing

In many, the hearing loss comes gradually. This may mean that you are not aware that hearing has been impaired. These are common symptoms of impaired hearing:

  • You think others are talking obscure and weak.
  • You have a hard time hearing when many people speak at the same time.
  • You have trouble hearing when your surroundings are noisy.

It may also feel like you have a lid on your ear or that it is whistling and beeping in your ear, called tinnitus.

Sometimes, relatives may notice at first that you have hearing impairment. For example, it may be that they think you have a loud noise when watching TV or that you often ask about what they have said.

Young children are not aware that they have hearing impairment, but hearing loss risks affecting the child’s speech development.

When should I seek care?

In some regions, you can also contact an audio reception directly.

If it’s in a hurry

Immediately contact a healthcare center or emergency room if any of the following is true of you:

  • You suddenly find it harder to hear with one ear.
  • You have been hearing impaired after a blow to the ear, to the head or after diving.
  • You have been hearing impaired and at the same time hurt your ear.
  • You suddenly find it harder to hear and feel dizzy.

If closed, you can wait until the on-call reception or medical center opens.

Contact a health care center or childcare center, BVC, if you as a parent think your child’s hearing is impaired.

Investigations and investigations

At the doctor’s visit you will be told about your hearing and if you have any other problems from the ears. The doctor then examines the ear to find out if, for example, hearing loss is due to a wax plug or some disease of the ear. Some health centers have the opportunity to conduct a hearing examination on site. You can also come to an audiology department, a hearing center, to do this.

Sometimes you can do more investigations and investigations. Then you can meet doctors who are specialists in ear-nose-throat diseases or hearing and balance disorders.

Studies on children

Children who have hearing loss may need treatment early. It is to help the child develop a language. Therefore, the child’s hearing is examined early. A few days after the birth, a so-called screening test is done. During the examination, the nursing staff puts a plug in each ear of the child.

The result can be either approved or not approved. There are many reasons why the answer is not approved even though the child still hears, so called error sources. For example, there may be fetal fat in the ear canal or amniotic fluid in the middle ear.

The child is given a time at an ear-nose throat clinic for more tests if the answers are not approved. It is not until after a more thorough investigation and investigation that it is possible to determine whether the child has a hearing impairment.

When the child is too small to participate, tests are made where the auditor reads the snail’s sensory cells or the nervous system’s response to sound. The examinations are not unpleasant for the child, but they require the child to be perfectly still and preferably sleeping. As a parent, you will be given information on how to make the child fall asleep if you are called for an investigation. It may be enough to give a toddler food for them to fall asleep. Older children may need medication to sleep, or be anesthetized with anesthetic.

Hearing examinations as the child gets older

As the child is closer to the year, the audiologist can measure how the child reacts to sounds. Then the audiologist can get an idea of ​​how weak the sound the child is at different frequencies. At the age of three, the child can participate in so-called play audiometry. Then the child puts a block when they hear a sound.

Once the child has started school, they can do the same kind of hearing test as adults, audiometry. Then the child presses a button when they hear a sound. The test is adapted to what the child can do if the child has a disability.

This is how the hearing works

Sound consists of pressure waves. The sound waves are led into the ear and then reach the eardrum which is set in motion. The wave motion is then carried on by the three hearing bones. They also amplify the sound. The swings of the riser in the oval window are propagated to the worm. 

Pressure changes in the fluid activate sensory cells in the shell. They are called hair cells. The information from the hair cells is then passed as nerve impulses through the auditory nerve to the auditory center of the brain.

Here you can read more about the ear and the hearing.

Different types of hearing loss

The most common cause of hearing impairment is that the body and hearing organs age. This type of hearing loss makes it difficult to hear light tones, such as birds and insects. You may also have difficulty hearing consonant sounds. This is because consonant sounds often contain light tones. This affects the ability to perceive speech.

There are several things that affect the age at which you begin to get hearing loss. It can be, for example, noise, illness, injury, some drugs but also hereditary causes.

Hearing impairment can be divided into two groups, conduction and sensorineural hearing loss.

Conductive hearing

Conductive barriers mean that the ear’s ability to transmit sound from the outside world to the inner ear does not work properly. A conduction barrier has its cause in the ear canal or in the middle ear. For example, it can be a damage to the eardrum or ear bones. The extent of hearing loss varies, but it can be treated.

Common causes of hearing loss due to conduction disorders:

  • Earwax.
  • Otitis.
  • Öronkatarr.
  • Otosclerosis, a disease that makes the stirrup in the ear less mobile.

Sensorineural hearing loss

You may get a hearing loss if the sensory cells in the seashell or auditory nerve are damaged. It is called a sensorineural hearing loss and can be due to several different things.

Strong sound

You may get hearing loss if you are exposed to loud noises. Then the sensory cells in the shell can be damaged. Both sudden bangs and more prolonged noise can cause you hearing loss.

It is important that you protect your hearing from loud noises. Everyone should do this, whether you have a hearing loss or if you have had no hearing problems.

Congenital hearing damage

The most common cause of congenital hearing damage is heredity. Then you have inherited a hearing impairment from one or both of your biological parents. Hearing loss can also be due to an infection during the fetal stage or a complication during childbirth.

Other causes of hearing loss

The sensory cells in the shell can be damaged if the inner ear causes impaired blood circulation for a longer or shorter time. It can cause you to have a temporary or permanent hearing loss. Viral diseases or infections with Lyme disease can also cause hearing loss. There are diseases that periodically cause hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus , such as Meniere’s disease.   Smoking can also damage your hearing.

Treatment of impaired hearing

In the field of hearing care many different occupational categories work together to help you with hearing loss: audiologist, doctor, hearing educator, curator, psychologist, engineer and speech therapist. The treatment of impaired hearing you receive depends on the cause of your hearing loss and what needs you have.

Here are some examples of different treatments you can get:

  • You can try out the hearing aid.
  • You can be operated on if you have a disease where it can help.
  • You can get a so called implant if the hearing is so impaired that it cannot be amplified with a hearing aid.
  • You can try out other technical aids to help you in your everyday life.
  • You can get help training communication, such as sign language and characters as support.
  • You can get education and knowledge about the possibilities and limitations of hearing loss.

In the case of a so-called conduction barrier, the sound is not led into the ear as it should. Sometimes the hearing can be improved or restored completely with surgical treatment of impaired hearing. You may still need technical aids if the hearing is not fully restored.

Different types of hearing aids and technical aids

Those who have persistent problems with severe hearing loss are often helped by one or two hearing aids . The most common are hearing aids that sit in the ear canal or behind the outer ear and amplify the sound towards the eardrum.

There are also leg anchored hearing aids. They can be used if the injury is in the ear canal or in the middle ear and for some reason it is not possible to use a normal hearing aid. With a bone anchored hearing aid, the sound is directed directly into the inner ear via a titanium screw in the skull’s leg.

Implants in pronounced hearing loss

If you have a very pronounced hearing loss, the hearing cannot be amplified with hearing aids. Then you can go through an investigation to see if you can get a so called implant. Then an electrode is operated into the worm. A processor converts sound into electrical signals that stimulate the auditory nerve. After the surgery, you need training to get used to the new way of hearing.

Children who are born with severe hearing or deafness can have a cockle implant as early as the first year of life. Cochlear implants can be shortened to CI. It is an abbreviation of the name in English. 

Technical tools in everyday life

There are also other technical aids that can help you with hearing loss. Extra reinforcement to the phone and doorbell can facilitate. You can get help with a system with an extra microphone where signals are sent to the hearing aid. It can work both at home, in social contexts and at work. You can also get the phone’s audio to connect directly to your hearing aid. A vibration alarm clock that you put under the pillow can also be helpful.

The different regions have rules for when you are entitled to subsidized aid.

Here you can read more about how it is possible to get hearing aids and other hearing aids.

Treatment and aids for children

If you are under 18, you have the opportunity to receive advice, support and treatment of impaired hearing if you feel that you are hearing poorly. Staff from various professional groups such as doctors, auditors, curators and hearing educators are there to help you. Contact the school health care or your health care center for an initial examination. If needed, they can help you get a hearing test done by an audiologist at an ear, nose and throat clinic. If you have a hearing impairment, you may see a doctor who finds out why the hearing is impaired. The treatment you receive depends on why and how much hearing is impaired.

Sign language can help you with hearing loss

Sign language can be helpful in communicating if you have hearing impairment. You can use the spoken language in some contexts and sign language in other contexts.

It varies from person to person what needs you have. A hearing educator in your region can help you further.

Characters that support use the same characters as in sign language, but you only draw the most important words in a sentence. The characters follow the spoken language. It is easier to learn and can be used by your loved ones.

Education about hearing loss and what it is due to

You can learn more about your hearing loss. This may include advice on how to do in everyday situations, more information about what hearing loss means or the opportunity to meet others with hearing loss.

Hearing care in the different regions provides education, contact an ear-nose throat clinic for help with contact.

Reduce the risk of hearing loss

You can reduce the risk of hearing loss by not exposing your ears to excessive noise. You should protect your ears if the sound level is so high that you cannot talk as usual. You can protect your hearing by using earbuds or earplugs. This is important both at work and at leisure.

If you listen a lot to music on headphones, set the volume to a decent level that is not hearing impairing. Remember not to increase the volume gradually. Also, keep in mind that the ear’s sensory cells need rest and recovery.

To live with hearing impairment

Here are some tips that can simplify everyday life if you have hearing loss:

Tell others that you have hearing loss

Telling people in your neighborhood that you have hearing impairment usually facilitates and prevents misunderstandings. It can feel good to tell how you are affected by the hearing loss. You can also give advice on what others can do to make it easier for you to understand what they are saying.

Remove unnecessary audio sources

Try to remove background noise that is disturbing, for example, closing an open door or turning off background music.

Choose quiet environments

Choose quiet environments if you want to meet someone outside. It may also be easier to see in a smaller group than in a larger one.

Be careful about lighting

It becomes easier to hear if you see the face of the person you are talking to. It can be good to sit with your back against the window so you don’t see the backlight.

Ask for information in writing

At meetings, trainings and, for example, doctor’s visits, you can request that the information be summarized in writing.

Use sms and emails if there is a lot of noise around

Send text messages or emails instead of calling if there is a lot of noise around you.

Use subtitles when watching movies and TV

Many TV channels and other film and comic services offer subtitling either via teletext or directly in the service.

Write Interpretation

If you hear very badly, you can use a writing interpreter. There is a person who writes what is said on a screen. This can be very helpful in, for example, a doctor’s visit, but also in many other contexts. Here you can read more about interpreting services for disabilities .  

Support can make everyday life easier

It is common to feel that interaction with others is difficult if you have hearing impairment. You may find it difficult to grasp all the information and easily miss the nuances of what others are saying. It also takes a lot of energy to constantly concentrate a lot on hearing and it can make you tired.

It is important that you who have hearing impairment seek help if you feel ill. Within the hearing care there are staff that you can meet for calls and who can help you find solutions that make everyday life easier. There are also organizations that work for people with hearing impairments, where you can get more advice and support.

MORE ON OTHER WEBSITES

  • Hearing.info – a video site that guides you in the care of your hearing aid
  • Hearing impaired Riksförbund, HRF
  • hearing line
  • special education school authority

Being close to someone with hearing impairment

It can be difficult to understand how a person with hearing impairment feels. There are some things that you as a relative can do to help:

  • When talking to them, turn to the person with a hearing impairment.
  • Go a few steps closer if possible.
  • Make sure the person with hearing impairment notices that you start talking.
  • Talk slowly and move your lips clearly.
  • Make sure only one person talks at a time.
  • Turn to the person with a hearing loss and give a brief summary if many have talked and have not heard them.
  • Try to meet in a calm and bright environment, avoid environments with a lot of noise or noise. These environments make it extra difficult for a hearing impaired person to hear what you are saying.
  • Use written messages to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Learn signs as support if the hearing impaired person communicates with it. If they use aids like a microphone, learn how to use it.

You as a related person can be a good support when hearing changes by showing openness, commitment and understanding. It can also be good to dramatize the hearing loss.

Being the parent of a child with hearing loss

You who are the parent of a child with hearing impairment receive support and education through the hearing care in your region. If your child needs hearing aids, you will be assisted by the technique of an audiologist. In the municipality there are hearing educators who help to monitor the situation in the school and whether the premises need to be adapted for a better sound environment. They also assist the school staff with support for how they can facilitate teaching for the child.

Influence and participate in your care

You can  seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic  you want throughout the country. Sometimes referral  to the open specialized care is required  .

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