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Hearing loss

                  1. Anatomy of The Ear

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      The ear is made up of three different sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. These parts work together so you can hear and process sounds.
      Sound waves are first collected in our outer ear (called the auricle or pinna), pass through our ear canal and cause our eardrum (tympanic membrane) to vibrate.
      These vibrations are in turn transmitted to our inner ear by the bones (ossicles) of our middle ear connected to eardrum. Our inner ear plays a vital role in the transformation of these mechanical vibrations into electrical impulses, or signals, which can be recognized and decoded by our brain. When the vibrations reach the cochlea through movement of the bones in the middle ear, the fluid within it begins to move, resulting in back and forth motion of tiny hairs (sensory receptors) lining the cochlea. This motion results in the hair cells sending a signal along the auditory nerve to the brain. Our brain receives these impulses in its hearing centers and interprets them as a type of sound.

                  2. What Cause Hearing Loss?

      Hearing loss comes when some part of the auditory systems got damaged.The most common causes of hearing impairment include some genetic, congenital, infectious, traumatic, toxic, occupational and age-related factors.
      Hearing impairment can be hereditary. Children of one or both deaf parents are at higher risk of developing this disorder.
      Some genetic conditions responsible for hearing impairment are osteogenesis imperfect, Cockayne syndrome, Hurler syndrome, Hunter syndrome, hereditary nephritis, etc.
      Ear infection is one of the most common causes of hearing impairment. Middle ear infection (otitis media) causes swelling of inner lining of middle ear and accumulation of fluid. Another common ear infection leading to hearing loss is infection of ear canal (otitis externa or swimmer's ear). Some infectious diseases such as measles, meningitis and mumps can also lead to hearing impairment.
 
      Aging is the most significant cause of hearing impairment. It is also known as presbycusis. 50% of over 70 years old aged people suffer hearing loss, mild or severe. Age-related hearing loss is because of damage to hair cells within the cochlea, due to which electrical signals are not transmitted efficiently.
 
      Another common cause of hearing impairment is damage to ear from loud noises. Due to continuous exposure to extremely loud noises, a delicate structure of inner ear is injured, leading to hearing loss. People working in loud environment (such as nightclub or discotheque staff) are at greater risk of developing this problem.
      Some common causes for temporary hearing loss are accumulation of wax in the ear canal, blocked Eustachian tubes, allergy, foreign body lodged in the ear canal, head injury and scarred or perforated eardrum.
      Use of ototoxic drugs such as some antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs can damage the cochlea. It causes hearing loss in any age.Traumatic injury such as skull fracture (temporal bone), traumatic perforation of eardrum, barotraumas (differences in pressure) and acoustic trauma such as fireworks, rock concerts, gunfire, explosions and earphones can lead to hearing impairment.

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