Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss numbers are grim: up to a 1 million Americans have already experienced profound hearing loss, or total deafness. Up to 33% of those numbers comprise children under the age of 18. And the numbers are expected to go way up…. and these numbers are only US numbers…globally, the picture is much worse.

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Imagine trying to live in totally silent world or get by trying to live in a world where people can’t hear or understand what you are saying…. if you suffer in this way, or live with someone with impaired hearing, you know all too well.

As the baby boomers (the largest group that comprises our population) age, the cases of hearing loss are expected to triple. One of the reasons for this grim prediction is, unlike past generations, baby boomers grew up being exposed to more noise than any previous generation. (Think of the electronic boom in the last thirty years.) The stress upon their hearing was more pronounced than previous generations and they grew up consuming much higher levels of starches, fast foods and processed sugars than previous generations.

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Although not a total list of risk factors, these factors alone will mean that millions more of Americans will suffer debilitating hearing loss…many more than in previous generations.

I am writing this report because we are already in a hearing crisis and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t change some things…before it’s too late.

By now you already know (from reading this website) that I am not very impressed with medicine’s stab at fixing what is broken…after the fact. Dentures, or implants are not nearly as good as healthy natural teeth. Knee replacements don’t eliminate pain in the knee. Eyeglasses are a pitiful substitute for fine healthy eyesight. Coronary bypass surgery is certainly no cure and is usually repeated three times because the root cause is never dealt with. Hearing aids are a real pain and certainly don’t replace/fix true natural hearing…and on and on…..only God and Nature give us what is perfect…everything else is a pitiful substitute…..

Let me remind you: Hearing is one of the precious five senses. Like everything else that is priceless to us, we don’t know what we have…until we lose it.

But in the all of the years that I have spent helping people, the vast majority of people really didn’t understand their vital sense of hearing, or how easily their hearing could be damaged. There is scant information to educate people BEFORE they suffer hearing loss.

You may remember that I educated you on earlier pages that some health conditions develop over a period of time due to cumulative damage. For example, it is now well known that the cumulative damage to our skin, from solar radiation, can result in skin cancer. It is the repetitive exposure to daily damage that concerns me the most. Most major illnesses develop over time, and that includes hearing loss.

Let us go to school for a moment and understand how we hear in the first place:

Understanding How We Hear

The ability to hear has parts, or components. Understanding these components empowers you to maintain and protect these valuable components.
  1. The Outer Ear, which is the visible part on the sides of the head, and the ear canals that go into the head. When we hear sound of any kind (music, speech, noise, etc.) the outer ears act as “sound collectors” of sound waves that “collect” the sound waves and transmit them down thru the ear canal to the eardrum. The eardrum is delicate membrane of thin tissue that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.

  2. As the sound waves travel down to the eardrum, a sound wave vibration of the eardrum commences. As the sound waves quickly collect on the eardrum, the sound waves are passed on to the middle ear. The middle ear is comprised of three very tiny bones called “ossicles”. No one completely understands how these very minuscule bones amplify and conduct sound wave vibrations of the eardrum to the inner ear. (You now get a clue as to why middle ear infection, or Otitis Media, can be so damaging to hearing.)

  3. The inner ear, in my opinion is the most fascinating part of the hearing process. There is a very special tiny organ in the inner ear called the cochlea that resembles a beautiful, tiny snail shell. Inside this tiny snail shell organ are tiny hair like cells, which move in response to the modified sound waves sent by the middle ear’s ossicles bones. As these extremely tiny hairs move inside the cochlea they generate tiny electrical signals that are picked up by the auditory nerve connected to the brain. It is at this point that the brain (the most advanced computer in the known universe) sorts out what is going on in a nanosecond and helps you understand what the sound means. We take it all for granted!
The whole symphony of hearing (understanding/interpreting sounds) is beyond fascination to me.

Now that you have the mechanics down on “how” you hear, you need to understand what threatens you hearing and promotes deafness, or hearing loss.

The main causes of hearing loss are usually divided into two main categories:

Category #1:Conductive Factors:
  • Blockage of the outer ear by wax thereby preventing sound waves reaching the ear drum.

  • Damage to the eardrum from infection, or physical injury.

  • Swelling in the tiny joints in middle ear’s ossicles bones caused by an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis, or from an untreated Sexually Transmitted Disease contracted years ago.

  • Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media) that swell and block the transmission of sound waves to the inner ear cochlea and auditory nerve.

  • Collection of fluid in the ear, which muffles the sound waves…. kind of like trying to understand someone talking under water.
These Conductive Factors, which lead to hearing loss, can usually be eliminated with timely diagnosis and treatment. Go to Ear Ache to learn more about the natural remedy for earache.

Category #2: Sensorneural Factors
This category is the area of most concern to me because it involves the inner ear and brain functioning.
  • Undiagnosed Brain Tumor

  • Drugs, such as aspirin, quinine and some antibiotics, which can damage the hair cells in the cochlea, leading to hearing loss.

  • Undiagnosed glucose metabolism (diabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance) problems, which can damage by auditory nerve and inner ear mechanism.

  • Meningitis and encephalitis infections, which can lead to an infection and inflammation of the brain and brain covering.

  • Mumps or measles that can permanently damage the inner ear and auditory nerve.

  • An auditory nerve tumor (acoustic neuroma), which is often benign, but nevertheless affects the function of the auditory nerve.

  • A stroke can damage the ability to hear.

  • Meniere’s Disease, which is usually a disease of the aged that is linked to a chromium deficiency.

  • Normal aging (whatever that is) is linked to hearing loss.

  • Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder, can lead to hearing loss.

  • Rubella (German Measles) can affect hearing, both in the mother and unborn baby.

  • Use of music headphones, cell phone earplugs, and Ipod accessories that keep a concentrated level of sound waves bombarding the eardrum and cochlea. The decibel range of sound waves is somewhat diluted by the outer ear. But when sound waves are concentrated directly on the eardrum, they overwhelm the entire hearing system and cause damage. This repeated damage overtime leads to permanent hearing loss. It is not possible to place pointed, concentrated sound waves directly upon the eardrum, cochlea and auditory nerve without damaging these delicate tissues.
Go to my Hearing Loss Prevention page to learn more preserving your hearing. Don’t believe the myth that you should lose your hearing as you age. Poppycock! My German mother died at 102 with near perfect hearing!

Related Pages

Best Vitamin and Mineral Supplement

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

High Blood Pressure Remedy

Ear Ache Remedy

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