What makes ENT so special

Hearing (sense of hearing)

All of our senses are closely linked to the brain. The phenomenon of "hearing" is also an interplay between the recording and processing of acoustic signals and the understanding of what is heard.

The ears pick up acoustic signals from the environment and convert them into a form that the brain can process. Once in the auditory center of the brain, the communication signals, in logical connections, awaken different memories and experiences that have accumulated since childhood or in the womb. Linking what has been heard with memories describes the process of understanding. This process, which takes place in the neural networks of the brain, is constantly promoted by new things in the course of life.

When the hearing loss begins, the ear's ability to react to certain frequencies with a low volume usually decreases. The sensitivity of the responsible hair cells decreases progressively. The further the hearing loss progresses, the more neighboring frequencies are usually affected.

If this hearing loss persists for a long time, the nerve cells of the auditory pathway and auditory cortex in the brain responsible for these frequencies and volumes are no longer stimulated and challenged by impulses. Nerve cells that are used less or not at all increasingly switch off their connections to neighboring cells, leading to degenerative degradation processes, the so-called auditory pathway degeneration. If this condition persists for a longer period of time, the loss is almost irreversible; the person concerned has in fact forgotten how to actually listen.

Hearing this loss is particularly noticeable in demanding listening situations (hearing with background noise, hearing in reverberant rooms, hearing in noise). The brain is then no longer able to distinguish useful sounds from unwanted sounds because important distinguishing features, e.g. fine, high overtones, can no longer be perceived. This also explains why those affected can often still follow a one-on-one conversation, but have problems taking part in a conversation or taking part in a conversation in larger groups or when there is a strong background such as a visit to a restaurant, church or on the street. to follow a conversation.

You should consult an ENT doctor at the latest when you notice such restrictions. Because: An early recognition of the deteriorating hearing ability allows treatments to continue to enable a chance of good hearing. Only the ENT doctor can tell whether the hearing loss is due to age-related wear and tear or another, possibly even surgically treated disease of the ear.