World hearing day

World hearing day is an annual world awareness campaign held on 3 March. The aim is to create the knowledge and urgency to diagnose and manage hearing loss. Hearing loss has a severe negative impact on social and economical aspects of daily life.

World hearing day emphasizes that hearing loss may be reversed with surgery
The ossicles(hearing bones) that transfer sound energy in the middle ear.

This year the focus is on the cost effectiveness of interventions to address hearing loss. The longterm effect of timeous intervention to improve hearing loss in the hearing impaired patient is undisputed. There are different ways to improve hearing but all of these efforts start with the awareness and education of the public.

Fact is that a large number of patients with hearing loss may be helped with surgery. Although hearing aid technology continuously improve and the majority of patients may benefit from hearing aids, there are still those patients that will not benefit. There are also those patients that will out of practical and personal preference decide against a hearing aid.

Conductive hearing loss is a specific type of hearing loss that can be addresses by surgery. In conductive hearing loss there is interference with the mechanical transmission of sound waves from the outside to the inner ear. There are many different conditions that impair this conduction of sound. Earwax, a hole in the eardrum, fluid behind the eardrum or disruption or fixation of the ossicles (hearing bones) are all examples of causes of conductive hearing loss. As it works with physics and mechanics of sound energy conduction it is usually amendable by surgical intervention.

Surgery that may be offered for conductive hearing loss include myringotomy and grommets, tympanoplasty (repair of the ear drum and hearing bones) and stapedotomy (replacement of the stapes bone with a prosthesis).

Some of these surgical procedures can be performed under local anaesthesia as a day procedure.

A once off surgical procedure with correction of hearing can have a major cost effective advantage over hearing aids as continues upgrades, repair costs, batteries and insurance for the hearing aid need not be taken into account.

BAHA attract for single sided deafness on world hearin day
A Bone anchored hearing aid can now be performed without an abutment piercing the skin

In some cases, active mechanical implants that help with the amplification and conduction of sound can be used. These include the BAHA, Bonebridge, Vibrant Soundbridge, Syphono and Ponto.

On world hearing day it is important to be aware of that a basic hearing assessment will indicate whether your hearing loss is conductive and may benefit from surgery.