How we hear? Understanding hearing loss & protection tips

How we hear

Our ears are the receivers of the audio. To understanding how we hear, we must know about the human ear. Basically it has been categorized into three parts.

The outer ear:

Consists of the visible part of the ear, also called the auricle, and the ear canal. What we call ‘noises’ are actually just ‘sound waves’, which are transmitted by the air. Sound waves are collected and guided through the ear canal to the eardrum. The eardrum is a flexible, circular membrane that vibrates when sound waves strike it.

The middle ear:

Is an air-filled space separated from the outer ear by the eardrum, or the tympanic (pronounced: tim-`pa-nik) membrane. In the middle ear are three tiny bones: malleus, incus, and stapes, often referred to as the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup. They are collectively known as the ossicles. These form a bridge from the eardrum to the inner ear. The ossicles also vibrate in response to movements of the eardrum and in doing so, amplify and relay the sound to the inner ear via the oval window.

The inner ear:

referred to as the cochlea (pronounced: kohk-le-a), is similar in shape to a snail shell. It contains several membranous sections filled with fluids. When the ossicles conduct sound to the oval window, the fluid begins to move, thus stimulating the minute hearing nerve cells, called hair cells, inside the cochlea. These hair cells in turn send electrical impulses via the auditory nerve to the brain where it will be interpreted as sound.

Understanding Hearing loss

Hearing loss affects a great number of people around the world. And it affects them in a variety of ways. Over time, hearing loss can influence your communication and relation with others in a negative way. So by leaving hearing impairment untreated, a physical condition may also become a psychological one. This is why it is so important to seek a solution promptly. If you do have hearing loss, then it helps to know that you’re not alone. In fact, you are one of about 500 million people worldwide.

In most countries, this means more than 1 in 6 people have some degree of hearing impairment. But it’s reassuring to know that a properly fitted hearing instrument can improve communication in at least 90% of people with hearing impairment. This means you can be quite confident that there is a solution.

Prevention of hearing loss:

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. But in contrast to age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss is easily preventable by taking precautionary measures.A volume of over 130 dB can very quickly cause irreversible damage to the hair cells in your cochlea. Even a single gunshot, whilst hunting for example, can cause permanent hearing loss. For this specific case the Siemens hearing aid and ear protection is appropriate.Even prolonged exposure to low levels of noise from 80 to 90 dB can lead to permanent hearing loss. If you are exposed to very loud sound levels at work, it is strongly advisable to use ear protection.

How can I tell if I have a hearing loss?

If you answer yes to some of the following questions, you may have a hearing loss

  • Often ask people to repeat what they say?
  • Have trouble hearing in groups?
  • Think others mumble?
  • Fail to hear someone talking from behind you?
  • Turn up the volume on the TV or car radio?
  • Have difficulty on the phone?
  • Have trouble hearing your alarm clock?
  • Have difficulty hearing at the movies
  • Dread going to noisy parties and restaurants?

These are common reactions and can lead to withdrawal from social interaction, anxiety, loss of self-esteem and even depression.

“I can hear but can’t understand.” Other Things to Consider if You Think You or Someone You Know Has a Hearing Loss

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