Hearing loss: don’t suffer in silence


onsultant ear, nose and throat surgeon Mr Parikh explains how he can help pa- tients with hearing issues.

What patients often tell me is how they

took this special sense for granted. Hearing gives our lives a third dimension; our eyes see but add to this the sense of hearing and everything comes alive. You can hear the birds, traffic, TV, music, friends, family and colleagues. In everyday life, we hear these sounds without giving it a second thought. Hearing loss can lead to problems with

simple things, like following a conversation in a restaurant, listening to a sermon, a play, hearing the telephone ring or partaking in a work meeting. This can result in a number of problems such as stress, anxiety, isolation, loneliness and, if it isn’t managed, depression. Unfortunately, hearing loss affects one in

six adults in the UK. The majority have an inner ear hearing loss that can be helped by an appropriate hearing aid. However, there are a small number of individuals who have a middle ear (conductive) hearing loss where surgery is an option. Middle ear hearing loss occurs due to the

ineffective transmission of sound waves to the inner ear. Some conditions causing a persis- tent conductive hearing loss where surgery is an option are described below:

1. GLUE EAR This is a collection of fluid in the middle ear, behind an intact eardrum. It’s seen frequently in children. Usually the fluid dissipates over time; however, if it persists for more than three months, and the hearing loss impedes communication, a grommet can be inserted. A small cut is made in the eardrum, and the fluid is aspirated using suction. A grommet is then inserted through the cut.

3. OTOSCLEROSIS In otoslcerosis, movement of the third bone of the middle ear (stapes) is restricted, causing hearing loss. Over time it can affect both ears. Surgery is an option, and is called a stapedectomy. It involves removing part of the stapes, and replacing it with an artificial prosthesis. The success rate is about 90%, but the procedure carries a risk (2%) of develop- ing deafness in the operated ear. This risk should be carefully considered before opting for surgery.

Hearing loss can lead to problems with simple things, like following a conversation in a restaurant, which in turn can lead to problems such as stress, anxiety, isolation, loneliness and, if it isn’t managed, depression

2. CHOLESTEATOMA An abnormal accumulation of skin within the middle ear is called a cholesteatoma. As it grows, it erodes various important structures it comes in contact with. Erosion of the small bones in the middle ear causes hearing loss. Infection leads to a foul smelling discharge. Other important adjacent structures that can be affected include the nerve that moves the face muscles (facial nerve), the balance system, and brain coverings (meninges). Treatment for this condition is surgical, and is called a mastoid exploration.

4. EAR DRUM PERFORATION A perforated ear drum can cause hearing loss and infections, and is often caused by water getting trapped during showering or swim- ming. Successful surgery can help alleviate the hearing loss and ear infections. Patients can resume watersports following surgery. The operation is called a myringoplasty and the success rate is approximately 90%.

Mr Parikh

London ENT Consultant, Office 39, 61 Praed Street, London W2 1NS Ms Kjai Kanone T: 020 7224 2455 F: 020 7224 6177 E:

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