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What is hearing loss

Hearing impairment is a partial or complete loss of hearing ability. The auditory system is a complex system that converts the sound waves into mechanical movement and subsequently to nerve stimulation by the various ear parts. The same neural stimulus passes through the auditory nerve to the auditory center of the brain, where it is processed until it is perceived as sound / word / noise by us.

The ear is divided into three parts: outer, middle, and inner. The outer ear receives acoustic pressure waves which translate into mechanical vibrations of the auditory bones of the middle ear, and from there pass to the inner ear. In the inner ear is the "snail," the hearing organ full of fluid. The fluid moves according to the oscillation of the bones and causes the membrane to move (the basilar membrane). These oscillations of the basilar membrane change the electrical charge of the cells and transmit nerve stimulation through the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve transmitted stimulus includes information on frequency, intensity, and signal duration that enters the system. This information passes through several stations to the brain's auditory center.

מבנה האוזן האנושית

Damage to any part of the audio system will cause hearing impairment, when the hearing impairment is divided into three types:

  1. Conductive - damage to the outer or middle ear (when the inner ear and auditory nerve are normal)

  2. Sensory-neural impairment (SN) - damage to the auditory nerve or cochlea (when the outer and middle ear are normal)

  3. Mixed defect - Mixed - conduction and sensory-neural injury together

Each of these deficiencies can come in different severities - from minimal to deep.

Of hearing loss is characterized by an increase in hearing thresholds (necessary amplification to hear) and sometimes barely audible decoding. Neural sensory decline is usually accompanied by deficiencies in the distinction between frequencies and times, making it difficult to decipher the words that are heard, and in particular the understanding of speech in noise or rapid speech.

What are the causes of hearing impairment?

Conductive hearing impairment can be caused by inflammation, fluid retention in the middle ear, perforation of the eardrum, bone deformity, diseases such as autosclerosis and more.

Possible causes of neural sensory hearing impairment are age, noise exposure, diseases such as paper and more.

Who suffers from hearing impairment?

Hearing impairment is common in different age groups, and is especially common in older age. About 25% of those aged 65 and over suffer from hearing impairment, and over 75, the percentage even reaches 80%.

Who should do a hearing test?

If there is a concern about hearing impairment, it is advisable to contact the AEG doctor. The doctor will listen to the complaints, perform an autoscopic examination and, if necessary, recommend a hearing test.

What to do with a hearing test?

The hearing test provides us with information on the type and severity of the hearing impairment. The hearing test consists of several parts that assess the minimum power at which the subject hears certain sounds or words, and at the end an audiogram representing the hearing level is obtained. According to the audiogram, the type of hearing impairment and its severity can be assessed. Occasionally a doctor's referral also includes a tympanometry test that assesses the responsiveness of the eardrum to changes in air pressure in the outer ear. This test helps in classifying pediatric impairments.

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