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It is estimated that nearly 20% of the global population suffers from hearing loss. This condition is typically linked to older adults since, as we age, the likelihood of hearing loss increases. With advancements in technology, many can continue to hear the world around them and participate in their daily life the same way they once did.

Despite these leaps in innovation, hearing loss is still a troubling diagnosis for many. Rather than seek professional help, some assume that hearing loss can simply be reversed. While this is possible in some cases, often, hearing loss is permanent (at least to some degree) and can only be treated rather than cured. Today, we’ll explore the causes and types of hearing loss, along with whether they can be reversed.

Causes and Types of Hearing Loss

Within our inner ear, soundwaves enter and small hair cells turn the vibrations into an electrical signal. Those cells are connected to acoustic nerves that send signals to the brain, which alerts us of that particular sound. If the hair cells become damaged or broken, our brains may fail to receive signals, causing hearing loss.

There are three common types of this condition:

This type of hearing loss occurs when a blockage prevents sound from passing through the outer or middle ear into the inner ear. This may be because of wax buildup, fluid, a hole in the eardrum or damage to the middle-ear bones. This type of hearing loss is associated most commonly with earaches and blocked ears.

Hearing loss of this kind may originate in the inner ear, along the acoustic nerve, or both. Exposure to repeated loud noises, diseases, aging, and genetics can all contribute to this particular type.

As the term implies, this sort of hearing loss combines conductive and sensorineural causes. It can affect the inner, middle, and outer ears and lead to a more profound inability to hear as a result.

Hearing Loss Reversal

In some cases, hearing loss can be reversed, at least to a certain extent. The potential for this condition to return to normal depends on the cause and the type you have. A hearing test conducted by a hearing professional can provide a definitive diagnosis on the possibility of reversal.

Can Hearing Loss from Loud Music be Reversed?
No, this type of hearing loss cannot be reversed. Loud noises damage cells within the inner ear, and listening to these sounds for an extended period of time can damage hair cells. Hearing loss will progress for as long as the individual is exposed to these noises, and the harmful effects may continue even after exposure.

Can Diabetes-Related Hearing Loss be Reversed?
This type of hearing loss is unable to be reversed. Diabetes is a condition that leads to nerve damage in various parts of the body, ears included. High blood sugar can damage small blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear, whereas low blood sugar can damage nerve cells that connect your inner ear to your brain. Hearing loss is twice as common in diabetes patients than in people of a similar age with don’t have the disease.

Can Hearing Loss from Stress be Reversed?
Stressed individuals experience various health problems that can result in hearing loss. Primary causes include heart disease and high blood pressure. Both conditions restrict circulation in your body, which can affect the hair cells in your inner ears. While taking good care of your health can improve your circulation and potentially reduce hearing loss, it is important to note that once the hairs inside your ears are damaged, they are unable to be repaired.

Can Sudden Hearing Loss be Reversed?
Often, yes, this type of auditory impairment can be reversed. Sudden hearing loss happens when you lose all or part of your hearing at once or over a short period of time. This can often be conductive hearing loss and may result from fluid buildup or swelling in the middle or outer ear. Many people who suffer from this type of hearing loss will recover from it in a week or two.

Sudden hearing loss can also occur in the inner ear, and there are treatments that if administered soon after the loss, can help to improve your hearing. It is important to see a hearing professional as soon as you notice a change in your hearing to determine what treatment options are available.

How to Mitigate Potential Hearing Loss

If you are living with a disease that may cause hearing loss, or are constantly exposed to situations of loud noises, it is a good idea to get your hearing checked annually. Not only can a hearing professional accurately diagnose hearing loss, but they can also make recommendations on how to improve your hearing health. At Robillard Hearing Centres, we carry various brands of hearing aids and can provide you with the tools to better understand your hearing health. Contact us to book your appointment today.