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Woman with hearing loss wondering if her hearing will come back on its own.

Your Body’s Capacity to Heal

The human body commonly can heal scrapes, cuts, and broken bones, although some injuries take longer than others. But you’re out of luck when it comes to repairing the tiny little hairs in your ears. So far, at least. Animals are able to heal damage to the cilia in their ears and get their hearing back, but humans don’t possess that ability (though scientists are working on it). What that means is, if you injure these hairs or the hearing nerve, you may have irreversible hearing loss.

At What Point Does Loss of Hearing Become Irreversible?

When you find out you have loss of hearing, the first thing that most people ask is will I get it back? And the answer is, it depends. There are two fundamental kinds of hearing loss:

  • Loss of hearing caused by an obstruction: You can exhibit all the symptoms of hearing loss when there is something blocking your ear canal. This blockage can be caused by a wide range of things, from debris to earwax to tumors. Your hearing normally returns to normal after the obstruction is cleared, and that’s the good news.
  • Damage based loss of hearing: But there’s another, more widespread type of hearing loss that accounts for nearly 90 percent of hearing loss. Known clinically as sensorineural hearing loss, this kind of hearing loss is often irreversible. Here’s what happens: there are little hairs in your ear that move when hit with moving air (sound waves). These vibrations are then changed, by your brain, into signals that you hear as sound. But your hearing can, over time, be permanently damaged by loud noises. Sensorineural hearing loss can also be from damage to the nerve or to the inner ear. In certain cases, especially in cases of severe loss of hearing, a cochlear implant might help restore hearing.

Whether hearing aids will help improve your hearing can only be determined by having a hearing test.

Treatment of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss presently has no cure. But it might be possible to get treatment for your hearing loss. In fact, getting the right treatment for your hearing loss can help you:

  • Stay engaged socially, keeping isolation at bay.
  • Protect and preserve the hearing you have left.
  • Successfully deal with the symptoms of hearing loss you might be suffering from.
  • Stop cognitive decline.
  • Ensure your all-around quality of life remains high or is unaffected.

This approach can take many forms, and it’ll normally depend on how severe your loss of hearing is. One of the most common treatment options is fairly simple: hearing aids.

How is Hearing Loss Treated by Hearing Aids

People with loss of hearing can use hearing aids to perceive sounds and perform as effectively as possible. When your hearing is hindered, the brain strains to hear, which can exhaust you. Over time the lack of sensory input has been associated with a greater chance of cognitive decay. By letting your ears to hear again, hearing aids help you restore mental function. In fact, using hearing aids has been shown to slow cognitive decline by as much as 75%. Contemporary hearing aids can also allow you to focus on what you want to hear, and drown out background sounds.

The Best Protection Is Prevention

If you get one thing from this little lesson, hopefully, it’s this: you should protect the hearing you have because you can’t count on recovering from hearing loss. Certainly, you can have any obstruction in your ear cleared. But many loud noises are hazardous even though you might not think they are very loud. That’s why it’s not a bad strategy to take the time to safeguard your ears. If you are inevitably diagnosed with loss of hearing, you will have more treatment options if you take measures today to protect your hearing. Recovery won’t likely be an option but treatment can help you continue living a great, full life. Contact a hearing care expert to find out what your best choice is.