Hidden hearing loss is still a medical mystery. However, scientists are working on figuring it out. This article will look into one of the significant causes of hidden hearing loss.
What Is Hidden Hearing Loss?
If you have hidden hearing loss, you can pass general hearing tests without trouble. However, you still can’t pick up sounds in a noisy crowd. So how does that work?
This type of hearing loss affects the nerves that connect your inner ear with your brain. In a quiet environment, you only need a few of these nerves to hear.
But this mechanism changes when you are in a crowd. In order to pick out the sounds you want to focus on, your ear activates specific synapses. So if some of the nerves are damaged, it disrupts your ability to tell different sounds apart. Hence, you will have difficulty following conversations.
The Causes of Hidden Hearing Loss
Noise exposure is one of the top causes of hidden hearing loss. After all, loud noise can damage your nerves as well as your hair cells.
But researchers have also found another cause.
Some autoimmune diseases affect the nerves. Specifically, they damage the myelin that connects your ears with your brain. Thus, your nerves simply cannot pass on the necessary signals to your brain.
There are several diseases that have this effect. One of them comes from the Zika virus.
What About Treatment?
It is much easier to prevent hidden hearing loss than to treat it. Additionally, it’s crucial to create hearing tests that detect it in its earliest stages.
However, there are some treatment options as well. It could soon be possible to treat these damaged nerves.