Mixed Hearing Loss Treatments: Hearing Aid or Cochlear Implant
Hearing aids are typically used to treat sensorineural hearing loss as they support the work of the delicate inner hair cells. Once damaged, these hair cells cannot repaired. This means that there aren’t enough vibrations to transform quieter, softer sounds into electrical signals that the brain can understand. A hearing aid helps by amplifying the sound, increasing the vibrations.
For a hearing aid to work as a form of mixed hearing loss treatment, you will first need to deal with the conductive hearing loss. This will likely mean a course of medication or minor surgical procedure to remove whatever is preventing sound waves from reaching the inner ear. Such blockages include earwax, a narrow ear canal and abnormal bone growth.
If your hearing loss is particularly severe, a cochlear implant may be more suitable. Instead of amplifying sound to assist the remaining hair cells, a cochlear implant simply does the entire job. A sound processor fitted to the outside of the head captures sounds, converts them into digital code and then transfers it down a wire into the inner ear. There, the surgically implanted device converts the code into electrical signals which the brain can easily understand.
Mixed Hearing Loss Treatment: Medication
Ear infections can easily spread across both the outer and inner ear. In the outer ear, the main symptom tends to be swelling and inflammation. The skin feels tender to the touch and the narrowing ear canal causes to hearing loss. Here, corticosteroids will generally be prescribed to reduce the swelling and so open up the ear canal. Normally they would be administered orally but injection can be used if necessary.
Past the eardrum and in the inner ear, the main concern is fluid build-up. Excess fluid prevents the hair cells from vibrating correctly and exerts uncomfortable pressure on the eardrum, occasionally resulting in a perforated eardrum. Painkillers and antibiotics are mostly likely to be prescribed in this instance.
When the infection is affecting both the inner and outer war, your doctor may give you a mixture of both steroids and antibiotics.