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CHECK Berlin/Brandenburg #6

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Health ENGLISH Foto: Lina Grabowska / HEARING LOSS AND HEARING IMPAIRMENT Recognize signs in good time! A total of around 450 million people worldwide are affected by hearing loss (hypacusis) – from mild impairments to total hearing loss. How do you recognize symptoms and what to do if they show up? “What did you say?” – “I beg your pardon?” – “Huh?”. If you often hear these sentences from someone close to you, you should literally be "listening carefully". Hearing impairment can be age-related, the result of an illness or hereditary. Excessive noise pollution in the workplace has made it one of the most common occupational diseases. The increasing number of young people with permanent hearing loss is also frightening: listening to music too loudly through headphones, at live events or in clubs often reaches the decibel output of a jackhammer of over 100dB at close range. LISTEN INSIDE Do you have to ask more questions during conversations because you did not understand something? Can you hear the fridge humming, leaves rustling and birds chirping? Has the neighbor knocked on the wall because you 32 CHECK BERLIN/BRANDENBURG #6

Health turned up the volume on the radio or television so high? When you are nodding inwardly, then at the latest now you should definitely have your hearing checked by an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) doctor. And don't postpone it for long: as our hearing can be unlearned! So while initially only certain frequencies can no longer be heard at low volume or noises are difficult to distinguish, this can spiral. And if the cause of the hearing loss is a pathological change in the inner ear, it can also lead to tinnitus or balance disorders with dizziness. By recognizing and acting at an early stage, however, the ability to hear can be preserved. CHECK-UP Ear, nose and throat doctors will ask you about possible triggers such as family history, occupation and hobbies. They will also check your sense of balance and examine your eardrum. A hearing test is then carried out to check the hearing ability and measurements are taken to determine the functionality of the auditory ossicles. In addition, medical laboratory blood tests could also identify metabolic diseases as causes or exclude a tumor on the auditory nerve with an MRI. EARLY DETECTION Since speech and the general mental development of people go hand in hand with healthy hearing, early detection through (computer-based) hearing examinations is an important issue even with newborns, which is now paid for by public health insurance. Hearing impairment or even deafness can develop during pregnancy or around the birth process. Triggers can be viral infections or metabolic diseases in the mother, as well as alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy. Parents should also observe their baby: if it does not react to a sudden noise from the fourth to sixth week of life or does not follow its eyes towards a hearing source from the sixth month, soundwaves ear canal it should be examined for possible hearing problems as soon as possible. AM I HARD OF HEARING? To assess the hearing ability, two units are determined as the hearing threshold: the pitch (frequency), which is measured in Hertz (Hz) and the volume, which is specified in decibels (dB). The degree of hearing loss is divided into five stages, the first stage being called normal hearing and a deviation of up to 20 dB from the defined hearing threshold. One speaks of mild hearing loss when, for example, the ticking of a wristwatch can no longer be heard. With moderate hearing loss, tones of 40 dB can no longer be heard, such as the background noises in residential areas. As soon as conversation partners can no longer be heard at normal conversation volume, this is referred to as profound hearing loss. ARE YOU DEAF OR WHAT? While people used to speak of deafness when people could no longer hear anything, today this is called hearing loss – this begins with a loss of more than 80dB. Hearing loss occurs when there is a disorder or disease on the route between the ear canal and the brain. Illustration: Prettyvectors / auditory nerve equilibrium nerve eardrum CHECK BERLIN/BRANDENBURG #6 33

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