Deafness Clinic

“Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people” – Helen Keller

Hearing loss is common and can affect people of any age.

Children are the next most common group to be affected, usually due to fluid or infection in the middle ear but also due to congenital problems or viral illness during early childhood.

Hearing loss can interfere with normal communication with others on a daily basis.

We are able to hear because sounds enter the ear canal and pass along it to the eardrum. The sounds cause vibrations first of the eardrum and then of the little bones, called ossicles, which bridge the gap between the drum and the cochlea (part of the inner ear).

A problem of transmission (or conduction) of sound waves through the ear canal and middle ear is referred to as a conductive hearing loss. A problem with the translation of the sound waves into an electrical signal by the inner ear or the onward passage of those electrical impulses via the nerves to the brain is referred to as a sensorineural hearing loss. Affected people can hear sounds of conversation but won’t be able to discriminate.

Causes of conductive hearing loss include blockage by wax, infection, a collection of fluid, trauma or fixation of the ossicles in the middle ear (which is called otosclerosis). Fortunately, they can often be treated and hearing in the infected ear can be corrected or improved.

Causes of Sensorineural hearing loss could be

  1. Old age (presbyacusis) which affects both ears to an extent associated with tinnitus.
  2. Viral infections, Trauma, Side effects from other drugs, Congenital causes and rarely could be a tumor on the hearing nerve connecting to the brain.

Hearing tests will be suggested to be done in a special setup to ascertain the type of hearing loss. This will help establish the nature and severity of the hearing loss. The severity of the hearing loss is graded mild, moderate, severe and profound. Treatment depends on the severity of the hearing loss and whether it is conductive or sensorineural.

In many cases hearing aids will be advised. These come in different sizes and types to suit different users and hearing needs. The technology in hearing aids is always improving to make them more discrete and offer better sound quality.

For some patients with specific types of hearing loss a surgically implanted hearing device may be advised. These devices include bone anchored hearing aids and cochlear implants. With modern surgery and high technology devices ENT surgeons are able to offer even the most severely deaf patients useful hearing. There is a hearing restoration solution available for almost everyone who is hearing impaired.

A thorough ENT examination will be done to reveal the diagnosis.

Surgical options include Myringotomy with grommet insertion, Tympanoplasty, Mastoidectomy to treat diseases of the mastoid bone , BAHA- (Bone Anchored Hearing AID), Cochlear Implant surgery.