The negative pressure in the middle ear or alternating periods of negative, normal and positive pressure may deform the ear drum. In the long term, the ear drum may get distorted or may get perforated. These changes may cause hearing loss and a sensation of pressure.
When there is a hole formed in the ear drum, the protection of the middle ear is lost. Water and bacteria can enter the middle ear and this can lead to inflammation and infection. The patient may experience hearing loss, imbalance or weakness of facial movement on the affected side.
The cochlear implants are approved for both adults and children above 12 months of age. The implant criterion has been expanded to include a larger section of the population. People who experience high-frequency sensorineural loss are found to perform well in quiet environment. As the listening environment deteriorates the communication becomes more difficult due to lack of high frequency speech information.
Cochlear implantation in these patients may become effective. But there is a problem of inserting the electrode to stimulate the damaged high- frequency fibers without damaging the low frequency fibers. Soft surgical techniques are under investigation. The electrode array has been redesigned to be minimally invasive but to provide high frequency stimulation. Electric acoustic stimulation (EAS) is a merger of two technologies and undergoing clinical trials.
It is observed that patients perform better on tests of speech in a noisy environment with EAS. They have also reported a much better sound quality and melody recognition while listening to music.
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