Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

Yellow question mark on a background of black sign to reiterate the question; is there a cure for hearing loss.

New cures are regularly being discovered. That may be a positive or a negative. You may figure that you don’t really have to be all that careful about your hearing because you read some encouraging research about prospective future cures for deafness. You’ll feel like they will likely have a cure for deafness by the time you will notice any symptoms of hearing loss.

That wouldn’t be wise. Without a doubt, it’s better to safeguard your hearing while you have it. Scientists are making some phenomenal strides when it comes to treating hearing loss though, and that includes some possible cures in the future.

Hearing loss stinks

Hearing loss is just a fact of life. It’s not inevitably because of something you did wrong. It just… is. But developing hearing loss has some major drawbacks. Your social life, general wellness, and mental health can be significantly affected by hearing loss, not to mention your inability to hear what’s happening around you. Untreated hearing loss can even lead to an increased risk of depression and dementia. There’s lots of evidence to connect neglected hearing loss to problems such as social isolation.

Usually, hearing loss is a chronic and degenerative problem. So, over time, it will continue to get worse and there isn’t any cure. This doesn’t pertain to every form of hearing loss but we’ll get to that soon. Even though there’s no cure, though, that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed.

We can help you protect your levels of hearing and slow the progression of hearing loss. Hearing aids are often the form of treatment that will be most ideal for most kinds of hearing loss. So there are treatments for most people but there’s no cure. And your quality of life will be immensely improved by these treatments.

Two kinds of hearing loss

Not all hearing loss is identical. Hearing loss comes in two principal categories. You can treat one and the other can be cured. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Conductive hearing loss: This kind of hearing loss occurs because something gets in the way and obstructs your ear canal. It might be due to an accumulation of earwax. Maybe it’s inflammation from an ear infection. When something is obstructing your ear canals, whatever it may be, sound waves won’t be capable of getting to your inner ear. This type of hearing loss can indeed be cured, usually by eliminating the obstruction (or treating whatever is causing the obstruction in the first place).
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is more permanent. Vibrations in the air are sensed by tiny hairs in your ears known as stereocilia. These vibrations can be translated to sound by your brain. As you go through life, these hairs become damaged, by loud sound usually. And once they are damaged, the hairs don’t function. And when this occurs your ability to hear becomes diminished. Your body won’t naturally regrow these hairs and we presently have no way to mend them. When you lose them, it’s forever.

Sensorineural hearing loss treatments

Just because sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible doesn’t mean it can’t be treated. Given your loss of hearing, letting you hear as much as possible is the purpose of treatment. Keeping you functioning as independently as possible, enhancing your situational awareness, and allowing you to hear conversations is the objective.

So, what are these treatment strategies? Here are some common treatments.

Hearing aids

Most likely, the single most prevalent way of treating hearing loss is hearing aids. Hearing aids can be individually tuned to your particular hearing needs, so they’re especially beneficial. Using a hearing aid will allow you to better comprehend conversations and communicate with others during your day to day life. Hearing aids can even forestall many symptoms of social solitude (and the danger of depression and dementia as a result).

Getting your own set of hearing aids is incredibly common, and there are lots of styles to choose from. In order to determine which model is suited to your taste and degree of hearing loss, you’ll need to come see us for a consultation.

Cochlear implants

When hearing loss is total, it sometimes makes sense to bypass the ears altogether. A cochlear implant does exactly that. This device is surgically inserted into the ear. This device directly transmits sound, which it has translated into electrical energy, to your cochlear nerve. Your brain then interprets those signals as sound.

Cochlear implants are usually used when hearing loss is complete, a condition known as deafness. So even if your hearing has gone away completely, there are still treatment options available.

Novel advances

New novel ways of treating hearing loss are continuously being researched by scientists.

In the past, curing hearing loss has been impossible, but that’s exactly what new advances are geared towards. Here are a number of those advances:

  • Stem cell therapies: Your own stem cells are used in this kind of treatment. The concept is that these stem cells can then turn into new stereocilia (those delicate hairs inside of your ears). Studies with animals (like rats and mice) have shown some promise, but some kind of prescription stem cell gene therapy still seems a long way off.
  • Progenitor cell activation: So, stem cells in your ear initiate the creation of stereocilia. Once the stereocilia develop, the stem cells go dormant, and they are then known as progenitor cells. New treatments aim to reactivate these progenitor cells, stimulating them to once again grow new stereocilia. Encouraging results for these new therapies have come from early human trials. Most people noticed a substantial improvement in their ability to hear and comprehend speech. It isn’t really known how long it will be before these treatments will be widely available.
  • GFI1 Protein: There’s a protein which has been identified by researchers that is crucial for the regrowth of stereocilia. It’s hoped that by discovering this protein, researchers will get a better idea of how to get those stereocilia to begin to grow back. This treatment is really still on the drawing board and isn’t widely available yet.

Stay in the moment – treat your hearing loss now

Lots of these innovations are encouraging. But let’s remember that none of them are available to the public at this point. Which means that it’s a good idea to live in the here and now. Protect your hearing today.

Don’t try to hold out for that miracle cure, call us today to schedule a hearing exam.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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