Deafness: new technologies exist to solve this pathology. Prof. Gaetano Motta, an expert in Otorhinolaryngology in Naples, explains this.
What do we mean by deafness?
Deafness refers to the decrease in hearing ability, which especially if bilateral and above a certain amount (about 40%), compromises the social capacity to communicate. Moreover, if deafness appears before the acquisition of verbal language (at birth or before two to three years of age) it can determine in the child the appearance of deaf-mutism if it is not promptly rehabilitated, even with the possible application of a cochlear implant (the so-called bionic ear). On the other hand, hearing capacity gradually declines with age (presbycusis) and with exposure to noise, typical of industrialized societies. For this reason, with the increase in the average age, it may be necessary to compensate the hearing deficit with an appropriate hearing aid.
What is caused by?
Deafness can be caused by various factors such as:
Hereditary lesions (otosclerosis)
Acute and chronic inflammatory processes of the ear
Hearing sensorineural lesions in relation to systemic diseases (diabetes, hypertension), acoustic traumas (professional deafness), aging (presbycusis), the use of ototoxic drugs, brain tumors that can compromise auditory function , or to specific morbid processes of the labyrinth (Ménière's disease)
Treat deafness with laser surgery
Visible radiation contact lasers (Argon, KTP) or by direct beam (CO2) are currently a technological evolution in the treatment of otosclerotic disease, for example in making the appropriate hole at the base of a small bone (the stirrup) in the course of a stapedotomy. Laser radiation can, however, also be used in surgery of cochlear implants (cocleostomia), or in the removal of some tumors interesting the ponto-cerebellar angle and the internal auditory canal (debulking of acoustic neurinoma).
What are the advantages of laser surgery in the treatment of deafness?
Laser surgery has the advantage of inflicting less trauma on the inner ear structures and therefore a better functional recovery with a lower risk of postoperative complications such as vertigo and tinnitus.