Hearing loss can leave you feeling confused, isolated, and worried. But the good news is that, with the help of trained audiologists and modern technology, there’s a lot that can be done to treat your condition.

The type of treatment you receive depends on a range of factors, including the cause of your hearing loss, your age, and whether your hearing loss is temporary or permanent.

Here is how hearing loss is treated.

With the help of a hearing aid

Hearing aids are small devices that either fit around or in the ear, amplifying incoming sounds with the help of a microphone. But hearing aids may be able to do much more than merely manage hearing loss: there’s evidence that they can improve hearing too. Hearing aids stimulate the auditory cortex, which can become starved of information when the ear can no longer perceive regular sounds, potentially improving hearing capacity.

With corrective surgery

Sometimes hearing loss can be caused by problems with the tissue of the ear. Corrective surgery can sometimes resolve these issues.

By cleaning out the ear canal

Many people suffer hearing loss because the ear canal – the tube that leads from the outer ear to the eardrum – becomes blocked with wax. Wax buildup can occur for many reasons, but it is most usually the result of people using cotton buds in an attempt to clean their ears. Cotton buds push wax deeper into the ear, causing it to push up against the eardrum and become impacted. The impacted mass then prevents sound waves from traveling up the ear canal unimpeded.

The good news is that the problem can be easily solved. You can either use an over-the-counter remedy from a recognized brand to flush out the wax yourself (always follow the instructions on the packet) or get an audiologist to do it for you. Audiologists have special tools designed to remove even the most intractable cases of earwax occlusion. Remember, do not use solutions on your ear if you believe that the eardrum is perforated.

By using a cochlear implants

Cochlear implants are a special kind of cybernetic upgrade for people with otherwise irreversible hearing loss. Cochlear implants don’t restore full hearing function. They do, however, help give people a greater ability to hear voices than with a hearing aid alone. Cochlear implants have been in development for over 30 years and can make a substantial difference to quality of life.

With visual and aural assistant

People with hearing loss can benefit from a range of visual and aural assistants around their home. For instance, flashing lights can substitute for regular alarms and closed-caption boxes can help when watching TV.

There are also devices that people can use to interpret the sounds in their environment and display them on a screen. So-called “test display devices” take incoming sound waves, process them using onboard software, and then post the written equivalent in large writing on the screen.

Finally, hearing aids often come with features which allow wearers to receive sounds from telephones and digital media devices wirelessly, without the need to use the microphone, amplifying the sound to the correct level without feedback.