Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Imagine waking up tomorrow feeling dizzy, nauseous, and your ears just will not stop popping. What is wrong? After about two weeks of experiencing this all the time, you go to doctor after doctor trying to find out what in the world is wrong with you. Soon, you find your self at an otolaryngologist, a doctor that specializes in the inner ear. He finally diagnoses you with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL). When I was ten years old, after going to some five different doctors, I was diagnosed with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Syndrome. In order to understand the loss of hearing, we must first understand how we hear and what it means to us. Hearing all begins by the creation of a sound. Then the "sound waves are collected by the outer ear and channeled along the ear canal to the eardrum." After that, "when the sound waves reach the eardrum, the impact creates vibrations, which are transferred through a series of three tiny bones" (http://www.a1-hearingaid.com/howwehear.htm). Finally, a signal is sent to the brain and we hear the sound being made. If this process is altered in any form or fashion, it could result in hearing loss. The three basic types of hearing loss are: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss "occurs when the eardrum, bones and membranes don't properly transmit vibrations to the cochlea..." this may be caused by a traumatic head injury or the patient could have been born with a birth defect (http://www.a1-hearingaid.com/howwehear.htm). Sensorineural hearing loss "is characterized by deterioration of the cochlea." These causes may include the aging process, excessive exposure to loud noise', viral infection or in some cases, it may be spontaneous (http://www.a1-hearingaid.com/howwehear.htm). This type of hearing loss is irreversible. Mixed hearing loss is simply a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing losses....
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