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Is hearing loss getting you down? A few simple steps will help protect your Hearing Health and put the fun back in your life. Know more about hearing aid and how hearing can be taken care of.
Blog Added: April 17, 2018 01:31:25 PM
Audience Rating: General Audience
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: India   India
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Blog Rating: 3.00
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All You Want To Know About Hearing Aid Batteries

We give very little importance to care and maintenance of Hearing aid batteries. Batteries are the most important accessory for a Hearing aid. Find out how to make your batteries last longer. The post All You Want To Know About Hearing Aid Batteries appeared first on...

While buying a Hearing aid, your dispenser will explain all the functions and features to you. He or she will also explain how to insert the battery. But we get very few tips on handling and care of batteries. Proper care of Hearing aid accessories. is important to keep the Hearing aids in good working condition. Hearing aid batteries are one of most important accessories.

All you want to know about hearing aid batteries

Why Do Hearing Aids Need Batteries?

Hearing aids process and amplify the speech or sound waves. The amplification process requires power. Batteries supply the power to the Hearing aids. Earlier manufacturers used Mercury in the batteries. Due to strict pollution control rules, use of mercury is not allowed. Currently, we use Zinc Air batteries which are non-polluting.

What are the Common Hearing Aid Battery Sizes?

Hearing aid batteries are available in various sizes. Every size has a number. The most commonly used battery sizes are:

  • Hearing aid battery size 675

  • Hearing aid battery size 13

  • Hearing aid battery size 312

  • Hearing aid battery size 10

All reputed battery manufacturers follow the global technical standards. The physical size, voltage and current capacity is common to all brands.

Some battery manufacturers add an alphabet along with the number for branding purpose. A p312 battery is the same as A312 or 312a or a 312 battery. Similarly, a p675 is same as A675, 675a or 675.

The size 675 is the biggest battery by way of diameter and size 10 is the smallest.

How to Identify Hearing Aid Batteries?

Normally the size or the battery number is not printed or embossed on the battery itself. One has to identify the battery size or number by the colour of the tab stuck to the battery or the print on the pack.

Hearing aid Battery packs
Hearing aid Battery packs

In case you do not have the packet handy, the tab will help you identify the battery for your Hearing aid.

  • Size #675 Blue tab

  • Size #13 Orange tab

  • Size #312 Brown tab

  • Size #10 Yellow tab

Hearing aid batteries with coloured tabs
Hearing aid batteries with coloured tabs

Why Hearing Aid Batteries Have A Tab?

There are 2 reasons for having a tab stuck on the positive side of the battery.

  • Extending Shelf Life of Hearing Aid Batteries
  • Identifying Hearing Aid Battery Size or number by the colour of the tab

Why Do Batteries Have Holes on One Side?

Air holes in hearing aid batteries
Air holes in hearing aid batteries

On removing the coloured tab, the air enters the battery through the tiny holes.  The Zinc stored in the battery and the air from the atmosphere reacts to produce power.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Hearing Aid Batteries?

Follow the following tips to extend the shelf life of the batteries.

  • Keeping the tab in place till you actually need to use the battery extends the shelf life. The chemical reaction in the battery will not start if the company fixed tab is in place.
  • Store the batteries at room temperature. Storing them in hot places will reduce the life of the battery. Avoid storing them in the glove compartment of the car. Storing the batteries in the refrigerator is also not advisable.

How Long Do Hearing Batteries Last?

Hearing aid battery manufacturers do not specify the working life of the battery. The life of the battery depends on the following factors.

  • Size or Type of the Battery.

The smaller the size, the lesser the power it can deliver. A size 675 battery delivers more power than a size 10 battery.

  • The Power Requirement of the Hearing Aid

The power requirement depends on the amplification or power of the Hearing aid. The power requirement will differ from one model to another. A Hearing aid for profound Hearing loss will need more power than a Hearing aid for Mild or Moderate loss.

  • Usage per Day

Battery life depends on the usage pattern of the Hearing aid user. Some people use the Hearing aid for 14 hours a day while others may use it for 8 hours. Hearing aid battery life is measured in working hours.

You should change the batteries depending on the average battery life as per your use. Most modern Hearing aids have a low battery warning beep.

Can I Charge My Hearing Aid Batteries?

The Zinc Air batteries are not rechargeable. They are single-use disposable batteries. Hearing aid Rechargeable batteries use Nickel Cadmium or Lithium Ion. The packet will clearly mention if they are rechargeable.

Why Do Hearing Aid Batteries Leak or Expand?

Store batteries at moderate temperatures. If stored at a place where the humidity is very high, the moisture enters through the air holes. The moisture absorbed by the Zinc results in expansion or leakage. Similarly, if the temperature is high, the heat will dry the chemical inside.

9 Simple Tips on Making Your Hearing Aid Batteries Last Longer

Follow the simple tips to ensure your Hearing aid batteries last longer.

  1. Do not remove the tab on the Hearing aid batteries till you are ready to use them. Removing the tab starts the chemical reaction. Putting the tab back after removing does not totally stop it. The batteries stay fresh as long as the company fixed tab is in place.
Hearing aid battery holders
Hearing aid battery holders

2. Carry extra batteries with you while you travel. However, do not carry loose batteries in your pocket along with coins. Metal objects like coins or keys will short the batteries. The batteries will heat up and discharge. Carry them in the original packaging or a battery carrying case.

3. Do not insert the battery immediately after removing the tab. Let the air enter the battery to start the reaction. Wait for 5 minutes before inserting in the Hearing aid.

4. While inserting the battery in the Hearing aid, ensure that your hands are clean. Dirt particles, grease or face cream may block the tiny air hole. This will stop the chemical reaction.

5. It is very important to store the batteries in the right place. Do not store where the temperatures are extreme. Extreme heat or cold will reduce the life of the batteries. In tropical countries store the batteries in a cool dry place. Do not refrigerate batteries.

6. Open the battery compartment of your Hearing aid when not in use. Use stay dry box to keep the moisture away. The batteries absorb the moisture in the hearing aid. It can also cause corrosion.

7. Remove the batteries if you are not a regular Hearing aid user. Do not leave the battery inside an unused Hearing aid.

8. If you purchase the batteries in bulk, check the expiry date before buying.

9. If you have many battery packs with you, use the old batteries first.

Many elderly people who cannot go out often to buy batteries can order them online.

We give very little importance to care and maintenance of Hearing aid batteries. Batteries are the most important accessory for a Hearing aid. No battery means no working Hearing aid.

Families with small children in the house should be careful in disposing off the used batteries. Do not leave them lying around.

We welcome your comments and feedback

The post All You Want To Know About Hearing Aid Batteries appeared first on Earguru.



Can Hearing Aids Cause Hearing Loss?

Hearing aids cannot damage your hearing or make the hearing loss worse. However, there are 4 situations when Hearing aids can cause damage. Read about this rare situation. The post Can Hearing Aids Cause Hearing Loss? appeared first on Earguru.

It is a known fact that loud sounds cause hearing loss. For a normal ear, continuous exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing loss over a period. It is highly recommended that we use ear protection devices to protect our ears from loud sounds. Follow the simple Ear Health tips to prevent Noise-induced Hearing loss. Hearing aids amplify sound and make them loud. So can Hearing aids cause Hearing loss? This is a frequent question and needs an answer.

Can Hearing aid cause Hearing Loss

What is Normal Hearing?

A person with normal hearing can hear all types of sound and take part in a conversation. Normal conversation is at a sound level of 50 to 60 decibels. If one is occasionally missing out on a few words, the person may be suffering from hearing loss. Most of the people suffer from High frequency Hearing loss. The main reason is old age closely followed by damage to the ear from loud sound.

When do We Need Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are useful if our hearing loss is permanent. In some cases the Conductive hearing loss is curable. Unless the damage to the outer ear or the middle ear is permanent.

Sensorineural hearing Loss is not curable. Research in the regeneration of Hair cells is at an advanced stage. A cure will be available shortly. Hearing aids or Cochlear Implant is the only solution to overcome the Hearing loss.

How do Hearing Aids Help?

Hearing aids amplify the sound and compensate for the hearing loss. The selection of Hearing aids depends on the degree of Hearing loss.

Suppose I have a 60 dB hearing loss, this is my hearing threshold. In this case, I will not hear any sound which is below the 60 dB level. As normal conversations are between 50 and 60 dB, I will miss most of the conversation.

In my case, the Audiologist will prescribe or fit a Hearing aid which suits my hearing loss. My Hearing aid will amplify sounds which are very soft. The Hearing aid will not amplify sounds which are above the 60 dB level as my ears can hear at this level.

Can Hearing Aids Improve Hearing?

Hearing Aid fitting and Counselling
Hearing Aid fitting and Counselling

Hearing aids cannot prevent hearing loss but they can certainly improve the hearing ability. Hearing loss increases very gradually unless it’s a case of sudden Hearing loss. Our brain gets accustomed to the hearing loss and considers this as normal. This reduces the sound processing ability of the brain as well as the nerves and other parts.

Once the Hearing aids start working, the brain and the complete aural network get new signals. This increases the efficiency of the aural network as they start processing new sound signals.

Will My Hearing Loss Get Worse If I Don’t Use Hearing Aids?

The chances of Hearing loss advancing or getting worse is more in people who do not use Hearing aids. We should exercise all body parts, right from the brain to the muscles. Body parts do not slow down and remain healthy if kept active.

Can Hearing Aid Cause Hearing Loss?

Hearing aids cannot damage your hearing or make the hearing loss worse. This is a totally false perception. In fact, use of Hearing aids can slow down your Hearing loss and increase alertness and mental faculties. There are certain rare conditions when Hearing aids can do harm.

When Can Hearing Aids Cause Hearing Loss?

There are 4 situations when Hearing aids can cause damage.

  • Poor Hearing Aid Programming or Tuning.

Digital Hearing aids can be precisely programmed as per the users Hearing loss. If the programming is proper, the hearing aid will amplify sounds only in the region where the user has hearing loss.

For example, a person has hearing loss in the high-frequency region and has little or no hearing loss in the low frequency. The Audiologist will program to increase the high-frequency amplification. Minimum or no amplification is set in the low-frequency region.

More amplification in the region of normal hearing would cause discomfort and ear damage.

  • Bad Hearing Aid Fitting

Feedback from Hearing aid
Feedback from Hearing aid

More than poor programming, bad fitting is the reason for damage to the ear. Majority of the Hearing aid users reject hearing aids due to poor fitting or programming.

A bad fit is due to the loose ear mould or use of wrong size of the ear tips. If the mould or the ear tip is not fitted properly, the Hearing aid will start whistling loudly. This is a feedback loop. The whistle is so loud that the users will not hear anything and it can also damage the hearing.

  • Poor Counselling

Counselling the Hearing aid user before fitting and after fitting will make all the difference between a happy and an unhappy user. In most cases, there is an initial reluctance to use Hearing aids. The reluctance comes for various reasons. Some of the reasons are covered in the article 5 helpful tips to convince your parents to use Hearing aids.

One of the reason is discomfort. During the Hearing loss, the brain processes limited sound signals coming from the ear. After the Hearing aid fitting, the Brain processes new signals or new information. Sudden exposure to all sounds will make the user uncomfortable. The Brain takes a little time to adapt to the new situation.

This is similar to wearing a new set of spectacles. Initially, the ground looks uneven.

Proper counselling will help the Hearing aid user face all these issues. New Hearing aid users should not take advice from unqualified people.

  • Using Non-Standard Sound Amplification Devices

A Hearing aid is a medical product. Manufacturers design and produce Hearing aids as per the guidelines laid down by various medical and engineering organisations. These guidelines specify the maximum permissible distortion, power consumption, output power and other parameters to ensure that the user gets a quality product.

Many small-time unscrupulous manufacturers market cheap sound amplification devices which look similar to Hearing aids. The manufacturers of these devices tempt the first time users by offering low prices. Buyers are advised to check the credentials of the company before buying.

Use of Hearing aids can be a life-changing experience. Do not hesitate to wear your Hearing aids and also advice others suffering from Hearing loss.

We welcome your comments and feedback

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The post Can Hearing Aids Cause Hearing Loss? appeared first on Earguru.



Yoga Treatment for Hearing Loss

Yoga helps in increasing Hearing Power by reducing stress and increasing the blood flow to the parts of the ear. Some Asanas or exercises are highly recommended for Tinnitus cure. The post Yoga Treatment for Hearing Loss appeared first on Earguru.

Yoga has been globally accepted as the most beneficial form of exercise for chronic ailments. Yoga has evolved over the years and many variations are being practised. Baba Ramdev Yoga is very popular, he has revived the practice of Yoga. Yoga helps in increasing Hearing power by reducing stress and increasing the blood flow to the parts of the ear. Some Asanas or exercises are highly recommended for Tinnitus Cure. We had covered some Asanas in our previous article Yoga Exercises for Better Hearing. In this article, we will cover some more Yoga treatment for Hearing Loss.

Yoga Treatment for Hearing Loss

Can Yoga help Hearing Loss?

Yoga is a natural Hearing Loss treatment. Yoga for the ear also aids other parts of the body.

The Asanas or exercises help in improving the flow of blood to the targeted areas. The blood reaches the internal parts of the ear through small capillaries or blood vessels. As we grow old the blood flow reduces causing Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

  • The Asanas or exercises relax the muscles and the tissues. This reduces the stress in the particular area.
  • Asanas or exercises help the body to release Endorphins. These are feel-good Hormones which bring positivity into our daily life.

Below are some Yoga Asanas or exercises to help increase Hearing Power.

Make use of Yoga accessories freely available. Wear comfortable Yoga pants and use Yoga Mats.

Trikonasana or the Triangle Pose

Trikonasana Asana or Triangle Pose
Trikonasana Asana or Triangle Pose

Trikonasana is so called as the body forms a triangle or Trikon (Triangle in Sanskrit). In this position, the blood rushes to the head. The flow of blood relaxes the muscles. The ears will also pop if the person is suffering from blockage of the ears. Trikonasana is also recommended as a Tinnitus Cure.

Caution:

  • Do not do this Asana on a full stomach.
  • Keep your eyes open.

Easy steps for Trikonasana or Triangle Pose

  1. Spread your feet apart comfortably, about 31/2 to 4 feet and stretch your arms fully.
  2. Turn the right foot through 90 degrees and the left foot through 15 degrees.
  3. Make sure that your feet are firmly on the ground and the weight is evenly distributed on both feet.
  4. Inhale deeply in the standing position. Bend slowly from the waist towards your right exhaling slowly at the same time.
  5. Your right hand will be close to the ground while the left arm will be above you in the air. Both arms should be in a straight line.
  6. Rest your right hand on your shin or your ankle depending on your comfort level. Your left arm should be pointing up and both the shoulders should be in line.
  7. Slowly turn your head upwards, your eyes pointing towards your left hand.
  8. Stretch your body to the fullest without bending forward or backwards.
  9. Inhale and exhale, this will relax your body.
  10. Come up slowly while inhaling. Come back to your starting pose, legs together and hands by your side.
  11. Repeat the same Asana by stretching out your left foot this time.

Ustrasana or Camel Pose

Ustrasana or Camel Pose
Ustrasana or Camel Pose

The Ustrasana is very beneficial for the ear. Besides increasing blood flow to the ears and the head, it exercises the throat and the chest region. Reduces problems in the ear by clearing blocks in the throat. By bending backwards the body stretches the front part of the body or the chest. This helps in increasing breathing capacity and reduces respiratory diseases.

Caution:

Do not try if suffering from-

  • A Hernia
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • A Migraine
  • Back Injury

Easy Steps for Ustrasana or Camel Pose

Persons who have not done Ustrasana before should start with Ardh Ustrasana or half Camel pose. After reaching a comfortable stage they should start with Ustrasana.

Ardh Ustrasana or Half Camel Pose
Ardh Ustrasana or Half Camel Pose

For Ardh Usrtasana practice step 1 to step 3 and Come back to the position no 1. Beginners can use Yoga Bricks or Yoga blocks for support.

  1. Kneel on the Yoga mat with your hands on the hips.
  2. The part of the leg below the knees and the ankles should touch the floor.
  3. Keep your hands at the hip level towards the base of the spine and slowly bend backwards. Your hands will support your back as you bend backwards.
  4. If you are comfortable in this position you can move to the next step. Remove your hands from the back and touch the sole of your feet.
  5. Drop your head backwards. This will stretch the throat and the chest region.
  6. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Beginners should not stay in this position for more than 20 seconds.
  7. Bring your hands back to the base of your back to support the back on its way up. Slowly raise your upper body to the kneeling position.
  8. This Asana has to be done gently. Do not force your body to bend backwards beyond the comfort level.

CAUTION: do not practice Yoga without consulting your family doctor. Some Asanas are not advisable for people suffering from a Migraine, back injuries or chronic back pain. For beginners, it is advisable to consult a Yoga instructor. Make use of proper Yoga accessories for comfort and ease.

We welcome your comments and feedback

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The post Yoga Treatment for Hearing Loss appeared first on Earguru.



Conductive Hearing Loss – Symptoms Causes and Treatment

A Conductive Hearing loss is the second most common Hearing Loss and affects people of all age groups. It is medically treated. Recognize the symptoms to seek immediate medical help. The post Conductive Hearing Loss – Symptoms Causes and Treatment appeared first on...

A Conductive Hearing loss is the second most common Hearing Loss. Majority of the people suffer from Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Conductive Hearing Loss affects people of all age groups. It is medically treated in the majority of the cases. The cure or treatment depends on our ability to recognise the symptoms and seek immediate medical help.

Conductive Hearing Loss Symptoms causes and treatment

What are the Different Type of Hearing Loss?

There are 3 main types of Hearing Loss.

  1.   Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

  2.   Conductive Hearing Loss

  3.   Mixed Hearing Loss

What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

The Ear structure consists of 3 parts. The Outer, Middle and the Inner Ear.

Ear Structure
Ear Structure

Conductive Hearing Loss occurs if the Outer or the Middle Ear do not conduct Sound waves to the Inner Ear. The problem can be in the Outer Ear and/or in the Middle Ear.

What are the Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss?

One should be aware of the symptoms or signs of Conductive Hearing Loss.

  • Earache or Pain in the Ear

The pain in one ear or both is a sign that all is not well with our ears. The pain could be due to infection, ear wax accumulation or an injury.

  • Blocked Ears or Pressure

We get the feeling of ear blockage or pressure in the ears. This is somewhat like the pressure some people feel while landing or taking off in an Airplane.

  • Loss of Hearing

We struggle to hear on the phone or miss out on the conversation while in a group. This indicates reduced Hearing ability.

  • Bad Odour from the Ears

In case there is an infection or build-up of Pus, the Ear will give out a bad odour or smell.

  • Unfamiliar Sound

We feel that our own speech sounds very different. This can happen in case of others Speech as well.

It is be noted that the above Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss could be in one Ear or Both.

What are the Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss?

The common causes of Conductive Hearing Loss as under:

  1.  Ear wax Accumulation

Not cleaning our Ears regularly causes Earwax to collect in the Ear Canal. This causes a physical blockage. The Earwax does not allow Speech and sound signals to reach the Eardrum or the Tympanic Membrane.

  1. Obstruction by a Foreign Body

Small items like beads, in the case of Children or cotton swabs stuck in the ear, can cause Conductive Hearing Loss.

  1. Infection Due to Water

Otitis Externa. Is the medical term also commonly called Swimmers Ear. Constant dampness or wet ears cause infection. We should also dry our Ears after a shower.

  1. Malformation of Outer Ear

This normally happens at birth. It is either malformation of the Pinna or the Ear Canal which is part of the External Ear.

  1. Abnormal Bone Growth

 Abnormal growth of the bones along the Ear Canal reduce the size of the Ear Canal. Sound can still travel through the outer ear. But the chances of the Ear getting blocked with a small amount of ear wax are high.

  1. Middle Ear Infection

Infection in the Middle Ear causes a build-up of fluids. Seek immediate medical attention before the infection becomes serious. This is very common in case of Children. Read the tips to detect Ear Infection in Children.

  1. Perforation in the Eardrum

The Tympanic Membrane or Ear Drum vibrates as per the Sound waves received by the Ear. A perforated Ear drum will not vibrate. Hence the Sound waves will not pass on to the Inner Ear. The Inner Ear sends the sound waves to our Brain through the Auditory Nerve.

  1.   Otosclerosis or Hardening of the Bone

Otosclerosis is the hardening of one of the 3 bones in the Middle Ear. These bones amplify and transfer the sound vibrations to the Inner Ear. Hardening of this bone stops the vibrations. This interrupts the process of transferring sound to the Inner Ear.

  1. Accident or Injury

Speech signals do not reach the Inner Ear if there is a physical damage to the outer or Inner Ear.

Can Conductive Hearing Loss be Treated?

In a majority of the cases, Conductive Hearing Loss is reversible or can be corrected. People suspecting hearing loss should undergo a hearing test or Audiometry.

  • Ear wax is nature’s process of restricting dirt from going into our Ears. Ear wax also keeps the Ear Canal lubricated. Some people produce more Ear wax than others. Ear wax should be regularly cleaned to avoid blockage. Use proper methods to clean Ears and avoid using Ear tips or cotton Earbuds.
  • In case Children insert a foreign object in the ears, rush them to the Doctor immediately. The Hearing is normal after removal of the object.
  • Keep your ears dry. Do not let water remain in your ears after a swim or a shower. Take special precautions to avoid fungal Infection.

Surgery can correct the malformation of the External Ear to some extent. Reconstruction surgery to correct abnormalities like collapsed Ear Canal and perforated Ear drum is possible. But the operation depends on the complexity and severity which may differ from case to case.

2 Stage Ear Reconstruction Surgery
2 Stage Ear Reconstruction Surgery
  • Surgery in case of physical injury due to accidents is more delicate and serious in nature. It solely depends on the extent of the damage or injury.
  • Infections of the Outer Ear are generally treated with anti-fungal or anti-bacterial eardrops.  Inner Ear infections need Antibiotic medicines. This treatment is generally done at home under the guidance of the Doctor. Delay in seeking medical help will spread the infection and may need hospitalisation.
  • In some cases, people suffering from Conductive Hearing Loss are not advised surgery or do not prefer surgery. These people can use Hearing Aids.
  • Hearing Aids are suitable for people suffering from Conductive Hearing Loss. The prescription of Digital Hearing Aids is as per the Hearing loss of the patient.

2 types of Bone Conduction Hearing Devices are available. One type connects to a Body worn Hearing Aid.  The second type is an Implant and requires a minor surgery.

Bone Conduction Implant
Bone Conduction Implant

The Bone Conduction Implant picks up the external sound and processes them. The Implant converts the sound signals to vibrations. These vibrations reach the Inner Ear through the bones.

Conductive Hearing Loss is treatable and reversible. One should be aware of the Symptoms and seek timely medical help.

We welcome your comments and feedback

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The post Conductive Hearing Loss – Symptoms Causes and Treatment appeared first on Earguru.



Pros and Cons of Cochlear Implant Surgery

Majority of us are unaware of the surgical procedures of a Cochlear Implant. The truth is that Cochlear Implant surgery is totally safe and benefits those who cannot hear with Hearing Aids. The post Pros and Cons of Cochlear Implant Surgery appeared first on...

People associated with the Hearing Impaired often come across the word Cochlear Implant. Majority of us are unaware of the procedures and how it works. The lack of information creates a lot of misconceptions. The truth is that Cochlear Implant surgery is totally safe. Users confirm that they hear much better with a Cochlear Implant. It is highly recommended in cases where Hearing Aids do not benefit.  This is mostly in the case of people suffering from Severe to Profound Sensorineural Hearing loss.

Pros & Cons of Cochlear Implant Surgery

What is a Cochlear Implant?

A Cochlear Implant is a high-tech listening device for people suffering from deafness due to malfunction of the Inner Ear.

The meaning of Cochlear Implant as the name suggests is, a device implanted in the Cochlea of our Ear.

Why do we need a Cochlear Implant?

The delicate Cochlea in the Inner Ear converts the mechanical motion into electrical signals. These signals reach the brain through the Auditory Nerve.

Due to the damage or absence of Hair Cells, the sound waves are not converted to electrical signals. Since no signal or a very weak signal reaches the brain, the person cannot hear.

A Cochlear Implant provides the missing electrical signals to the Brain through the Auditory Nerve.

Cochlear Implant Parts

Before we read further, let us get familiar with the parts of the Cochlear Implant. For all practical purposes, the Cochlear Implant can be broadly divided into 2 parts.

External parts of the Cochlear Implant
External parts of the Cochlear Implant

The only two Cochlear Implant parts one need to know about are:

  1. The External Unit

The external Unit consists of the following components

  • Microphone.
  • Sound Processor Unit in the housing
  • Transmitter with Coil
  • Magnet
  1. The Internal Unit

Internal Parts of the Cochlear Implant
Internal Parts of the Cochlear Implant

The internal unit which is surgically implanted consists of the following components.

  • Receiver
  • Antenna
  • Magnet
  • Electrodes

How Does a Cochlear Implant Work?

The Microphone of the Cochlear Implant picks up the speech signals. The speech signal is digitally processed and converted to electronic data. The wires carry the data to the transmitter which attaches externally to the Head.

The Antenna inside the scalp picks up the Digital data. The Receiver and Simulator convert this data into electrical signals and pass them on to the Electrodes. The Electrodes provide the electrical signal to the Cochlea. This signal reaches the Brain through the Auditory Nerve as Speech signals.

Read this to understand the detailed working of the Cochlear Implant.

The Cochlear Implant vs Hearing Aid Debate.

If you are wondering why do Audiologists recommend a complex Hearing Device which involves surgery over an easy to fit Hearing Aid? The answer lies in the functionality of both the Hearing Devices.

The Hearing Aid amplifies the sound and feeds into our ears. The amplified sound passes through the Outer Ear, Middle Ear and on to the Inner Ear. The damaged or missing sensory Hair Cells in the Inner Ear cannot convert the sound to electrical signals. Our Brain will not receive these signals even if the person is using a Hearing Aid. A Cochlear Implant helps the person hear in cases where the Hearing Aid does not benefit.

Cochlear Implant Surgery

The Doctor and the Audiologist conduct various tests to decide if the patient meets the criterion for the Cochlear Implant. Below are a few points which decide whether the patient should receive a Cochlear Implant.

  • Whether the patient is suffering from Severe or Profound Hearing loss.
  • Understanding speech with a Hearing Aid is very difficult.
  • The Patient’s age at the time of the Cochlear implant surgery.
  • Whether the patient is deaf from birth or has become deaf later in life. If later, at what age has the patient become deaf?
  • To find out the patient’s support system i.e. family, friends and schools in case of children. Continuous need for Post-operative therapy on regular basis.

Brief Description of Cochlear Implant Surgery

  • Cochlear Implant surgery takes place under General Anaesthesia. The total procedure takes about 2 hours.
  • Operating team refers to the MRI or a CT scan report before the surgery to determine the location of the bones.
  • The Surgeon makes an incision or a cut behind the ear to insert the internal part of the Cochlear Implant. The cut is dressed and bandaged after the operation.
  • Patient is shifted to the recovery room and is under observation until the Anaesthesia wears off. The patient is sometimes kept in the Hospital for a few days.
  • Patient should take the prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • Hospital discharges the Patient.

 Procedure after the Cochlear Implant Surgery

The Cochlear Implant does not start working or is not switched on immediately after the surgery.

The wound has to heal completely before the next step. This takes about 3 to 6 weeks. The patient can resume normal activities and is not confined to the bed.

Healed Scar after Cochlear Implant Surgery
Healed Scar after Cochlear Implant Surgery

After the wound has healed, the external parts of the Cochlear Implant are connected. After checking all connections the Cochlear Implant is switched on or activated.

Pros and Cons of Cochlear Implant Surgery

Majority of People have confirmed that they hear better with a Cochlear Implant. The benefits of Cochlear Implants are:

The Pros or Advantages of Cochlear Implants

  • Cochlear Implant users are able to hear sounds which were not possible with a Hearing Aid. The sound of a doorbell, telephone bell are clearly heard. The person can also hear the footsteps of people walking and the door shutting.
  • Users can understand Speech better. There is less dependence on lip reading.
  • People feel relaxed as there is no stress associated with the effort to lip read and catch the missing words.
  • The Cochlear Implant user can easily talk on the phone.
  • The person can watch television.
  • It’s a boon for children as they can hear and follow the teacher at the school.

The Cons or Disadvantages of Cochlear Implants

The disadvantages or associated risks are far less than the advantages of having ones hearing restored.

  • There has been a very small percentage of cases where the Cochlear Implant has not functioned. Additional surgery corrects this situation.
  • It can cause infection. But the chances are very remote.
  • The sound received through the Cochlear Implant is not as natural as normal speech. Cochlear Implant users who could hear earlier and have lost their hearing later, have described it as “robotic” or “mechanical”
  • No upgrades for the internal part of the Cochlear Implant. The Companies manufacturing Cochlear Implants generally upgrade the external sound processors. The new Sound processors are compatible and include the latest developments in technology.
  • The Cochlear Implant is more expensive than a Hearing Aid, extra care needed to avoid damage.
  • It is expensive to maintain as batteries and connecting cords are expensive.
  • A person using a Cochlear Implant cannot go back to using Hearing Aids.

The advancing technology has made Cochlear Implant surgery very safe. The sound quality of the digital Cochlear Implants has improved over the years. The leading manufacturers are Cochlear, Med El and Advanced Bionics.

The Government of India offers free Cochlear Implants to deserving candidates. Please check the Central Government sponsored ADIP (Assistance for Disabled Persons) Scheme and the eligibility criteria from the nearest Regional Centres. 

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The post Pros and Cons of Cochlear Implant Surgery appeared first on Earguru.



Sensorineural Hearing Loss – Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

90% of the people suffer from Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Let us get familiar with the symptoms, Causes and remedies so we are better prepared to face it. The post Sensorineural Hearing Loss – Symptoms, Causes and Remedies appeared first on...

There is a very strong possibility that most of us will suffer from Hearing Loss at some stage in life. Some get it late but a majority of us get affected early. There are 3 types of Hearing loss but 90% of the people suffer from Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Let us get familiar with the symptoms, causes and remedies so we are better prepared to face it.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms causes remedies

What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL) also known as Nerve Loss or Sensorineural Deafness is the Hearing loss which is due to damage or reduced sensitivity of the Sensory and the Neural parts of the human ear. If the loss is in both ears it is known as Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

How does Sound travel through the Ear?

The Hair Cells in the Cochlea convert the sound waves into electrical signals. Let us understand a little about how sound travels from the Outer Ear to the Inner Ear.

The animated video will help us understand the Journey of sound from the Outer ear to the Inner Ear and to the Brain.

What are the Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

We should be aware of the subtle symptoms and signs of Sensorineural Hearing loss. The Hearing loss is not very obvious as it starts gradually. An early detection and timely visit to the ENT Doctor will help in slowing down the advancing loss.

9 Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms

  1. Difficulty in following the Conversation

It normally starts with difficulty in following conversations in a group discussion. One tends to miss out on some words. The problem shows up in a one to one conversation though it is not as obvious as in a group discussion.

  1. Cannot understand Speech in a Noisy Environment

It becomes very difficult to understand others if the conversation is in a noisy environment like a restaurant or at a sports event.

  1. Others are Mumbling or not Speaking Clearly.

We get the feeling that the other person is mumbling and not speaking clearly. This indicates that we are missing speech at certain frequencies.

  1. Requesting Others to Repeat Themselves

We repeatedly request others to repeat themselves. It’s an indicator that we are missing out certain words in the conversation.

  1. Increasing the Volume while Watching Television

Increasing the volume setting on the Television or Music system higher than the earlier settings. Listening to Television or Radio is more difficult than listening to another person speaking,

  1. Difficulty in Speaking on the Phone

It is difficult to follow a coneversation on the phone. The limited frequency range of the phone reduces our ability to hear certain words.

  1. Need to look at the Speaker to Follow the Conversation

We need to keep looking at the person who is speaking to follow the conversation. We subconsciously lip read to help us understand the parts of the conversation missed due to Hearing loss.

  1. Exhausted after a Lengthy Conversation

Our Brain is working hard to fill in the missing words and make sense of the conversation. We end up paying more attention to simple tasks like having a normal discussion. This increases the stress factor and results in exhaustion and fatigue.

  1. Avoiding Social Functions

Once we realise that conversing is difficult, we tend to avoid attending Social functions. We avoid group gatherings as we fear we may end up embarrassing ourselves by not understanding the discussion.

Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss is due to the inability of the delicate Hair Cells to convert the vibrations into electrical signals. Another reason could be the inability of the Auditory Nerve to carry the signal to the brain.

This video will help us understand Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The 7 Main Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

  1. Ageing or Old Age

Ageing is a natural process of the human body. Our body along with our organs of sense too grow old and do not perform at their best. The Hair cells in the Ear and the nerves become less efficient resulting in Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

  1. Exposure to Loud Sounds

Constant exposure to loud sound results in permanent damage to the Hair Cells. The noise exposure could be due to Traffic Noise, working in a workshop or listening to loud music. Take precautions to protect our ears from loud sounds. Use available Ear Protection Devices.

  1. Physical Injury

In case of an accident, a physical hit to the Ear or the part of the Ear near the Cochlea or the nerves can cause permanent damage. This damage may result in Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

  1. Infections and Diseases

Viral Infections like measles, Mumps, Meniere’s Disease or High fever. Diseases like Diabetes, High blood pressure also cause Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

  1. Family History of Hearing Loss

In the case of a family history of Sensorineural Hearing Loss, the chances of the children getting it is high.

  1. Malformation of the Ear

Malformation of the Inner Ear during birth or a genetic disorder causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

  1. Ototoxicity due to Medicines

Some medicines if taken in large doses affect the delicate Hair cells in the Cochlea. It is advisable to consult your Doctor and avoid self-medication. Over the counter medicines like Aspirin if taken in large does can cause Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

The Cure for Sensorineural Hearing Loss

There are no medicines or surgical procedures to cure sensorineural Hearing Loss. Pharma Companies and a few start-ups dedicated to solving this problem are very close to a solution. Research in Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Technology is also at an advanced stage to provide solutions. The day is not far when Sensorineural Hearing loss treatment will be as simple as popping a pill.

Remedies for Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Hearing Aids are the common remedy for Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Digital Hearing aids are software programmable and tuned as per the Hearing Loss of the user. The different styles of Hearing aids are available to suit the users need and lifestyle.

Cochlear Implant is also an option. This option is not very common as it involves a surgery. The Cochlear Implant surgery is for candidates who meet a certain medical criterion. The electrodes of the implant are surgically implanted in the Cochlea. The electrodes of the Implant provide the electrical impulses. In a normal Ear, the hair Cells provide the electrical impulses.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss is the most common of all Hearing Losses. Protecting our Ears from high levels of sound will delay the onset of Hearing Loss. Developing Healthy Hearing Habits leads to a Healthy life.

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The post Sensorineural Hearing Loss – Symptoms, Causes and Remedies appeared first on Earguru.



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