There are many reasons for hearing loss. One of the most common causes of deafness is sensor neural hearing loss, which involves the nerves. It is caused by old age, consistent exposure to loud noise, infections, trauma to the head or ears, tumors and even medication. This type of hearing loss is permanent.
Types of hearing surgery
- Cochlear implants –Cochlear implants are often performed in adults and children with profound sensor neural hearing loss. A small electronic device is surgically placed under the skin behind your ear. This device is connected to electrodes which are inserted into the cochlea.
- Hearing aid implants
External hearing aids have developed significantly over the past few decades, but for extended wear an internal implant is often considered. One of the most commonly performed hearing aid implants is a bone-anchored implant (BAHA), which entails the stimulation of the cochlea by transmitting sounds through the bone of the skull.
- Pressure equalizing (PE) tubes
This procedure entails the insertion of tubes into the ear to equalise pressure and allow air through in cases where the Eustachian tube (the tube that connects the middle of the ear to the back of the nose) becomes blocked with fluid. An incision is made in the eardrums and any fluid drained out. Tiny, hollow metal or plastic tubes are then inserted to allow air through to the middle of the ear, and as the eardrum heals, these get pushed out again. Sometimes long-term tubes are needed, which are surgically removed.
This surgical procedure is often used to treat hearing loss caused by otosclerosis, a condition that causes abnormal bone growth inside the middle ear, which prohibits vibrations to travel through the ear. An incision is made behind the ear and muscle or tissue is removed. Excess or abnormal bone (usually referred to as the “hearing bone” or the stapes bone) is fixed. A prosthesis is then inserted and connected to the second hearing bone (the incus) to allow sound waves to travel correctly.