Bilateral Hearing Loss

The Bilateral Hearing Loss is the disability of listening to the sounds from both the ears. Let us now discuss bilateral deafness causes, symptoms and effective treatment in details.

Hearing loss now becomes a common problem in the present time. Also, nowadays we are much aware of the different categories of hearing disability. These include temporary or permanent, full or partial, sensorineural or conductive types of hearing loss. These all Can suffer you differently.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Bilateral Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at 1800-121-4408. We are always here to help you.

Previously, we have discussed hearing loss in one ear that is a major part of it called unilateral hearing loss. Similarly, there is a term exists for a hearing loss in both the ears. That is known as a Bilateral Hearing Disorder. Though it is a very simple and unique term as unilateral hearing loss, yet there are quite many differences between these two. Let us discuss the aspects of bilateral hearing disability in detail.

What is Bilateral Hearing Loss?

When you are suffering from hearing impairment not only in either one ear but instead of in both the ears. Therefore this problem is called a bilateral hearing loss. This disability can prevent you from listening to sounds at a normal tone. Hence the sounds seem a little slow to you, or the intensity of sound in both ears may be different. Therefore it makes you unable to hear the sounds from both the ears.

Although this problem has a different set of conditions from one person to another person. Where Two persons with this same disorder may feel it differently from each other. Though we are familiar with the synonyms of deafness. We must know about them in detail in order to improve our hearing abilities and back it to normal. Therefore this can either be symmetrical or asymmetrical in nature.

Let us have a look at both :

Symmetrical

When the degree of hearing disorder is equal in both the ears. Then it is known as symmetrical bilateral hearing impairment. Where you can feel or hear the same intensity of the sound or conversations. sometimes it is hard for the person to judge that they are suffering from the actual hearing loss problem. Because the seems that people are talking slowly or the surrounding are less noisy.

Asymmetrical

When the degree of deafness in both ears is different from each other. Then it is known as an asymmetrical bilateral hearing impairment. In such a condition the problem is still in both ears but your one ear hears better than the other one. Therefore in both these cases, the ear disorder definitely resides in both the ears of the patient.

Progressive Bilateral Hearing Loss

When there is a significant decline in the hearing ability in both the ears at the same time. Therefore when this type of hearing loss is denoted in any person so it is called a progressive bilateral hearing loss. Its duration may be both kinds either rapid or slow. It can affect your ears as rapid over several months and slowly over the years. Autoimmune inner ear disease is the best example of progressive bilateral deafness in humans.

unilateral and Bilateral Hearing Loss all ages

Sudden bilateral hearing loss occurs 20 times less commonly than sudden hearing loss in one ear (Oh et al, 2007). According to Chen and Young (2016), the prognosis is very poor for sudden bilateral hearing impairment with a very high mortality rate (44%) in 16 patients over 5 years.

Although the progressive Bilateral deafness is more popular than the unilateral deafness. Therefore like nearly 100% of the population eventually develops the age-related bilateral hearing loss. What conditions will cause deafness in both ears? How these cases are different from those of single-sided deafness. Perhaps, you will get these answers in the further section of this article.

How is Bilateral Deafness Different from Normal Deafness?

There is a huge difference between bilateral hearing loss and normal hearing loss. Because the normal hearing loss may occur in your both or ear. But the bilateral deafness can occur in both ears that may be caused by the inner, middle, or outer ear. Also, it can be a different combination of these areas. This problem is reduced the hearing ability in both ears of the patient. Normal hearing loss can be recovered by medicine or antibiotics. But the surgery or best hearing aid is the best solution for bilateral hearing loss treatment.

Thus in order to understand the differences between both of them. first of all, you should know the difference between normal hearing and bilateral hearing. Normal hearing ranges from 0 to 20dB ie from 20Hz to 20000Hz. The bilateral hearing refers to the hearing with the help of the bilateral hearing aids. Now let us discuss the differences between the two in detail.

Differences Between Bilateral and Normal Hearing Impairment

The bilateral deafness is different from normal hearing loss in the following aspects :

Normal hearing loss refers to the partial or complete inability to hear the sounds from your ear. It may affect one or both ears of the victim. But bilateral hearing loss refers to the inability of both the ears to hear any sound. Therefore it affects both the ears of a person. As we can say that bilateral loss is a component or part of the normal hearing loss. The normal hearing loss includes both unilateral as well as bilateral hearing impairment.

They also differ in their symptoms. Normal hearing loss may affect one or both ears. But in bilateral deafness, you will face difficulty in hearing from both sides definitely. Bilateral hearing loss is more threatening, complex as compared to the normal hearing loss. The symptoms, as well as causes, are similar in case of normal hearing loss as well as bilateral listening disability.

But they are slightly different from each other on some points and facts. Because in the normal hearing loss, you will face problems in one or both ears like irritating sounds, muffling, or whispering of people, ear pain, the ringing of ears. But in the case of bilateral, you will observe the same symptoms in both ears.

You may need a hearing aid for normal hearing loss but in case of bilateral hearing loss, you need bilateral hearing aids for better hearing. Thus they both are slightly different from each other. But in maximum terms, both are similar in causes, symptoms and treatment methods.

Bilateral Hearing Loss Causes and Types

bilateral hearing loss causes

The bilateral hearing impairment may be caused by factors in the outer, middle or inner ear or a combination of these areas. Bilateral deafness can be categorized as sensorineural, conductive or mixed hearing loss. Well, the types of hearing loss depend on the factors involved with it.

Sensorineural Bilateral hearing loss

If the hearing loss in your ears is the result of congenital or acquired hearing loss, it may lead to Sensorineural bilateral hearing loss. It is termed as nerve deafness as it is the combination of dual problems:

  • Sensory loss involving the inner ear
  • Neural loss involving the hearing nerve

The causes and factors of sensorineural bilateral deafness are the following :

Congenital factors

These factors are present at birth which leads to nerve deafness. It may be due to genetic factors or abnormal development in the fetal stages of life. Prior to the development of the vaccine, Maternal Rubella or German Measles were responsible for congenital hearing loss.

Acquired factors

The factors like aging, loud noise, certain medications, trauma, head injury, ototoxic drugs, etc are responsible for sensorineural bilateral hearing loss. These factors are acquired after birth and are not genetic.

Conductive Bilateral hearing loss

If there is a blockage or reduction in your ears’ ability to conduct sound into the inner ear, you are suffering from conductive bilateral hearing loss. It leads to the breakdown in the effectiveness of sound waves being passed from the outer ear. This form of hearing loss is far more commonly associated with physical damage, including perforation of the eardrum or a large build-up of wax.

Mixed Bilateral hearing loss

If the bilateral hearing impairment is both conductive as well as sensorineural, it is termed as a mixed bilateral hearing disability. Therefore, the following common causes are responsible for the above bilateral hearing disorder :

Aging

Everyone suffers hearing impairment in both the ears due to the increase in age as it is a natural phenomenon. It is a slow process and takes over the ears.

Loud noise

The sounds of loud music and concerts, gunshots, crackers exceeds 85 decibels can damage both the ears at the same time.

Ototoxic drugs

Certain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen contain ototoxic drugs that will lead to bilateral hearing loss.

Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disease causes vertigo, dizziness, nausea, and hearing loss. It usually occurs in steps, one ear at a time but slowly it affects both the ears.

Meningitis

Meningitis is a viral or bacterial infection that causes a headache, affects the brain working and the spinal cord.

Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis lead to abnormal growth of bone within the middle ear that stops these bones from vibration. As a result, sound waves are unable to reach the inner ear and triggers hearing loss.

Autoimmune disorders

Autoimmune disorders such as Cogan’s Syndrome can affect the ears.

Genetic factors

Genetic factors are inherited factors like mutations, genetic syndromes, etc can lead to bilateral hearing loss.

Ear wax blockage

The Ear wax blockage is the accumulation of excess ear wax blocks the ear canal and you may find difficulty in hearing from both the ears.

Ear Infections

The Ear Infections are the infections due to fluid in the middle, the inner or outer ear may affect both the ears at the same time.

Alcohol and tobacco

Alcohol and tobacco are the toxicity of drugs and their carcinogens pose a threat to the tiny hearing cells of the cochlea.

Depression

Depression is called a mood disorder affects the inner ear and slowly reduces the hearing ability of both the ears.

Superficial siderosis

Superficial siderosis cause due to iron deposition, generally from a leak close to the 8th nerve, causes hearing loss over the years.

Chiari Malformation

Chiari Malformation is caused by the displacement of the cerebellar tonsils below the level of the foramen magnum. It causes aural fullness, tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss in both ears.

Stroke

Stroke affects the auditory pathway and causes difficulty in perception or reception of sound.

Head trauma

Head trauma causes if accidents or physical injuries that can damage your inner ear and leads to a ruptured eardrum. Thus it may lead to bilateral hearing loss.

Acoustic neuroma

Acoustic neuroma is a tumor in the nerve that grows and affects the auditory nerve.

Suppose you are facing various hearing problems, but the main point is to know the type of hearing loss you are suffering from. How will you know whether your hearing loss is unilateral or bilateral? The symptoms will reveal your type and help you to alert to your problem.

Bilateral hearing loss symptoms

As we have discussed the causes of bilateral hearing disability in the above sections, it is mandatory to identify the signs on the basis of causes. As the causes and effects are related to each other. If you are facing the following problems frequently, then there is a problem with your both ears. In the bilateral hearing impairment, you are likely to show a few symptoms.

These symptoms are as follows :

  • Inability to hear from both sides at the same time or at different times.
  • Though your both side ear affects, you may experience one ear is hearing better than the other ear.
  • Inability to hear the people clearly as their speaking seems to be muffling or whispering.
  • Frequent request for repetition and clarification.
  • You may feel disturbing noises like ringing, hissing, cracking, etc in both the ears.
  • You may experience ear pain from both sides frequently or suddenly.
  • Fatigue at the end of the day due to difficulty in hearing from the ears.
  • You tend to avoid social gatherings and group conversations due to hearing loss in both the ears.
  • As you may experience the frequent ups and downs in the frequencies of the sound.
  • Hearing disorders will ultimately lead to social, communication and speech disorder.
  • You may face difficulty in speaking as well as listening.
  • The tendency to bluff when not hearing someone because of the fear of asking them to repeat themselves.
  • Bilateral hearing loss may cause loneliness, anxiety and cognitive disorders.
  • Then you may find yourself socially and emotionally depressed.

If you are suffering from the above problems, then it is the possibility of bilateral deafness. You should immediately report to your nearby audiologists for diagnosis and further treatment.

Treatment of Bilateral Hearing Loss

Well, bilateral hearing disorder involves sensorineural, conductive and mixed hearing loss, thus there treatment will be based upon the relying factors. As the treatment of bilateral hearing impairment depends upon the degree of a hearing loss in both the ears, you should immediately consult your nearby audiologists for diagnosis and further treatment.

Bilateral Deafness Differential Diagnosis

Prior to the treatment, diagnosis is necessary to reveal the actual cause behind your hearing loss and the degree of hearing loss your ears are suffering. An audiologist may refer to the different diagnostic procedures for your ears. An otoscopic and physical examination along with the questions related to your symptoms and other factors. Afterward, he may refer to the following hearing tests :

Implant Operation

Generally, treatment of bilateral hearing loss involves medical intervention, surgery and hearing aids.

cochlear implants

Some cases of bilateral hearing loss may be treated by surgery or cochlear implants. While some of them include only the use of hearing aids. In some cases of bilateral hearing loss, you need surgery as well as hearing aids. Whether you need one or two hearing aids for your ears. It all depends on the degree of hearing loss you are suffering.

How do Binaural Hearing Aids Work?

If your hearing loss is severe you need hearing aids in both the ears, which is called binaural hearing aids. By binaural hearing aids, the sound is able to reach and stimulate each ear auditory nerve, keeping the nerve actively engaged. According to recent studies, if the sound doesn’t stimulate auditory nerves, they can slow down and make hearing loss worse.

Binaural hearing aids

This condition is Auditory Deprivation. Hearing aids keep our auditory nerves functioning, which lowers the risk of Auditory Deprivation. It helps in listening to the sounds in a normal environment as well as the noisy environment. One hearing aid helps in understanding the speech and the other diminishes the background noise. Two hearing aids let you listen to normal volumes, which minimizes sound distortion and auditory fatigue.

Bilateral Hearing Loss VA Disability

The VA rates your disability between 0 and 100 percent in increments of 10. At a rating of 0 percent, you do not receive monthly compensation, but you might be eligible for other benefits from the VA, such as health care. Typical ratings for hearing loss are 0% or 10%, but severe or profound hearing loss can qualify for a higher rating.

Social Security grants disability for profound hearing loss in both ears. Social Security disability benefits are available for profound hearing loss or deafness, but not for moderate or mild hearing loss. The disability rating for loss of one or both ears (auricles), rated at 30% for loss of one ear or 50% for loss of both.

Therefore, If you are eligible for service-connected disability compensation and you are suffering hearing loss in both ears, you are entitled to an additional monthly cash benefit called special compensation.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Bilateral Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at 1800-121-4408. We are always here to help you.

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