Can Hearing Be Restored

 In Hearing Loss Research

Can Hearing Be Restored

If an individual suffers from nerve related hearing loss, can hearing be restored ?   It is tempting to feel left-behind if you are hearing impaired.  For example, the weight loss industry is rife with commercials, books and advertisements touting extraordinary diets  without scientific evidence to back up those claims.  But seldom do fad diets and exercise equipment keep the weight off long-term.

Weight Loss Advertising Claim can hearing be restored

Alleged Misleading Weight Loss Advertising in FTC Lawsuit

 

Hence, do any of the hearing loss solutions you may have seen advertised provide restoration of hearing? The short answer to this question is not really. Unfortunately, many individuals with hearing impairment cling to the hope that some of these so-called remedies will provide immediate relief.

Surgery for hearing loss

The most common, legitimate and scientifically credible surgical procedures performed on the ears are as follows:

  • Insertion of middle ear tubes – Middle ear, or pressure equalization (PE) tubes, are used to alleviate pressure buildup behind the eardrum in cases of middle ear infection or fluid that cannot drain through the Eustacian tubes. Children are the most common candidates for PE tubes because their not-yet-developed ear anatomy makes ear infections more prevalent than in adults. However, for the majority of adults whose hearing losses are sensorineural, this surgery is not appropriate and would have no value.
  • Cochlear implants – A cochlear implant is an invasive, significant surgery for adults and, more commonly, children who have no, or very little, residual hearing, typically something they were born with.    Cochlear implantation is an invasive and costly surgery intended only for those who benefit little or not at all from hearing devices.  Furthermore, it does not “restore” hearing; it only provides some hearing to those previously deaf or with severe hearing loss.  Also, the surgery, if unsuccessful, can leave one deaf. The surgery is really a “last-resort”.
  • Stapedectomy – A stapedectomy is a procedure in which one of the small bones behind the eardrum, the stapes,  is replaced with a prosthesis. The procedure involves the middle ear, not the inner ear where nerve damage occurs.

 

Essential oils for hearing loss

Essential oils are wildly popular as natural remedies for everything from anxiety and depression to allergies and the flu virus. There have been some claims about essential oils’ effectiveness for restoring your hearing.

Essential oils cannot cure sensorineural hearing loss, and there is no research to support claims that they can. If you ever consider using any type of oil in your ear, speak to a physician first, preferably an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist.

Drugs to restore hearing

It would be nice if there was a magic pill for everything that ails us, including hearing loss? If a pharmaceutical solution to sensorineural hearing loss seems like a great idea to you, you’re in good company. Researchers have been searching for ways to make curing hearing loss as easy as a trip to the pharmacy.

Recent “stem-cell” research has shown possibilites to stimulate new hearing nerve receptors to grow and replace the damaged receptors. Most of the studies to date have been with other animals and/or laboratory based.  Unfortunately, human applications are years, if not decades, away. However, each potential remedy would need extensive research with humans before considering clinical trials and FDA drug approval.

Summary

So, if you suffer from hearing loss, can hearing be restored ? For nerve-related hearing loss, there is no “cure”. However it is possible to improve hearing through appropriately fitted hearing devices.  Contact Peninsula Hearing Services at (650) 373-2081 to improve your hearing.

Reference:  Edited from the article Can you restore your lost hearing? by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, managing editor, Health Hearing 9/26/2017

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