Treatment - Hearing Loss

Deafness is a condition wherein the ability to detect certain frequencies of sound is completely or partially impaired.  Hearing sensitivity is indicated by the quietest sound that an animal can detect, called the hearing threshold. In the case of humans and some animals, this threshold can be accurately measured by a behavioral audiogram. A record is made of the quietest sound that consistently prompts a response from the listener. The test is carried out for sounds of different frequencies. There are also electro-physiological tests that can be performed without requiring a behavioral response.

 If the hearing loss occurs at a young age, interference with the acquisition of spoken language and social skills may occu. Hearing aids, which amplify the incoming sound, may alleviate some of the problems caused by hearing impairment, but are often insufficient. Cochlear implants artificially stimulate the VIIIth Nerve by providing an electric impulse substitution for the firing of hair cells. Cochlear implants are not only expensive, but require sophisticated programming in conjunction with patient training for effectiveness. The United States Food and Drug Administration reported that cochlear implant recipients may be at higher risk for meningitis.  





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