Can Hearing Be Restored
With so many medical advances in the 21st century, individuals with hearing loss yearn to know…can hearing be restored? It is tempting to feel left-behind if you are hearing impaired. The weight loss industry is rife with a dizzying number of commercials, books and advertisements touting extraordinary diets and expensive work-out equipment successes. Marketers offer the latest pills, potions and promises for reducing body fat, losing weight and shrinking your body dimensions enough to fit into the clothes you’re wishfully keeping in your closet. But seldom do fad diets and exercise equipment keep the weight off long-term.
So, if one has nerve related hearing loss, can hearing be restored? Do any of the hearing loss solutions you may have seen advertised provider 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
While any operation can cause anxiety, some people with hearing loss would be willing to go under the knife if they knew their hearing could be restored to normal.
The most common surgeries performed on the ears are:
- Insertion of middle ear tubes – Hardly a surgery, this frequently-performed, outpatient procedure is intended for those with other than nerve-related hearing loss. 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. It works by insertion of an electrical wire inserted deeply into the skull into the hearing nerve organ called the cochlea. It sends electrical impulses to the hearing nerves that can be translated by the brain as meaningful sound. If you have significant hearing loss, you may wonder if you can just skip hearing aids and go right to an implant. Cochlear implantation is an invasive and costly surgery that is intended only for those who benefit little or not at all from hearing devices. The reason for this is that the surgery 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 – another surgery than involves hearing loss that does not affect the hearing nerve. This invasive surgery is also not without risk or successful in outcome and is only performed on those whose tiny bones of the middle ear becoming ineffective at transmitting sound to the inner ear where the hearing nerve is located.. A stapedectomy is a procedure in which the stapes is replaced with a prosthesis. This surgery is reserved for specific ear-related conditions and is not used for sensorineural hearing loss.
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
Wouldn’t it 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 from all over the world have been searching for ways to make curing hearing loss as easy as a trip to the pharmacy.
There has been exciting “stem-cell” research that has shown it may be possible 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. The specific applications that could be used in humans are years, if not decades, away. Each potential remedy would need extensive research with humans before the long process of clinical trials and drug approval could even begin.
What can restore hearing?
So, back to the question….can hearing be restored? No, but hearing can be improved. Restoring your hearing can be as simple as visiting a hearing care professional and being professionally fit with appropriate hearing aids. If you’d like to restore your hearing with a solution that is proven, well-understood and available right now, contact Peninsula Hearing Services at (650) 373-2081
Reference: Edited from the article Can you restore your lost hearing? by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, managing editor, Health Hearing 9/26/2017