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Potential Causes of Hearing Loss

Deafness or partial deafness/hearing loss can be life-altering, and in a situation where hearing loss has been caused by medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

Table of Contents

    What is audiology negligence?

    Audiology Negligence or missed diagnosis by an audiologist may result in long-term medical issues or in some cases deafness. Paediatric Audiology in Ireland has been the focus of reviews in recent years, particularly in relation to missed diagnosis of hearing loss issues, and Coleman Legal LLP has been engaged by families whose children have suffered medical issues as a result of substandard or negligence audiology hearing tests for these children. If your child has suffered hearing loss as the result of missed diagnosis or medical negligence, you can discuss your situation with one of our medical negligence solicitors in confidence.

    The HSE National Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme was implemented to ensure that newborn babies undergo a hearing loss screening within one month of their birth.  Furthermore, its objective is to ensure that diagnostic audiology assessments are carried out on each child before the attainment of three months, and that audiological services and early intervention services are made available to babies in need of treatment before the attainment of 6 months of age. This practice is in line with international standards and supports the contention that early detection is the most effective solution to hearing impairment amongst children.

    Have you been affected as a result of medical negligence?

    • Our team of medical negligence solicitors has over 30 years of collective experience handling cases for those who have suffered due to medical misdiagnosis or medical negligence.
    • We are accredited as medical negligence specialists by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Law Society of Ireland.
    • AvMA, a nonprofit dedicated to patient safety and justice, has given Coleman Legal its seal of approval. On their website, they provide helpful advice on choosing a specialised solicitor for your medical negligence claim, which may assist you in making your decision.

    Types of hearing loss

    • Conductive Hearing Loss
    • Sensorineural Hearing Loss
    • Mixed Hearing Loss

    1. Conduction hearing loss

    Conductive Hearing Loss happens when sounds cannot pass through the outer and middle ears. This type of hearing loss can usually be fixed by medication or surgery.

    Potential causes of conductive hearing loss

    • Fluid in your middle ear from colds or allergies.
    • Ear infections
    • Blocked Fluid via the Eustachian tube, which connects your middle ear and your nose.
    • Hole in your eardrum
    • Earwax stuck in the ear canal.
    • An object stuck in your outer ear, e.g. a pebble or small bead.
    • Deformation of the outer or middle ear.

    2. Sensorineural hearing loss

    Sensorineural hearing loss occurs after inner ear damage and is the most common type of permanent hearing loss or damage.

    Potential causes of sensorineural hearing loss

    • Illness
    • Aging
    • A blow to the head
    • Deformation of the inner ear
    • Being subjected to loud noises or explosions
    • Ototoxic Medicines* (medication that can damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo (loss of balance/dizziness).
    • Mixed Hearing Loss

    In some situations, conductive hearing loss happens at the same time as sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). This means that there may be damage or injury to the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or nerve pathway to the brain. Anything that causes conductive hearing loss or SNHL can result in mixed hearing loss. The two together may make your hearing worse than it would be with only one type of hearing loss.

    What are ototoxic medicines?

    There are more than 200 known ototoxic drugs, both prescription and over the counter, that are on the market today. These include medication used to treat serious infections, cancer and heart disease. Ototoxic medications known to cause permanent damage include certain aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin (family history may increase susceptibility), and cancer chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.

    Drugs known to cause temporary damage include salicylate pain relievers (aspirin, used for pain relief and to treat heart conditions), quinine (to treat malaria), and loop diuretics (to treat certain heart and kidney conditions). In some instances, exposure to loud noise while taking certain drugs will increase their damaging effects. Prior to taking ototoxic medication, a baseline record of your hearing and balance should be recorded by an audiologist.

    This information can help you and your doctor make an informed decision whether to stop or change the drug treatment before your hearing is damaged. If drug treatment cannot be stopped or changed, steps can be taken to manage the effects of the hearing loss that results. During the course of your treatment, you should have periodic hearing tests to monitor the process. The effects of Ototoxic medications are well documented and audiological monitoring of patients during treatment should be routine clinical practice.

    Mixed hearing loss

    In some situations, conductive hearing loss happens at the same time as sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). This means that there may be damage or injury to the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or nerve pathway to the brain. Anything that causes conductive hearing loss or SNHL can result in mixed hearing loss. The two together may make your hearing worse than it would be with only one type of hearing loss.

    The claim process

    1. Consult our medical negligence solicitor

    It is advisable for you to speak to an experienced team of Medical Negligence Solicitors as soon as possible if you believe that you were not provided with an adequate or appropriate level of medical care, which resulted in you sustaining an injury or illness.

    2. We obtain your medical records

    After the consultation with your medical negligence solicitor, he/she will request access to your medical records and engage an independent medical expert to assess your records. The purpose of engaging an independent expert is to establish whether there was any negligence on the part of the medical professional.

    3. The medical negligence litigation process

    Where the independent medical expert is of the professional opinion that medical negligence did occur, upon your instructions, your solicitor will commence the process of issuing legal proceedings in Court against the medical professional and/or hospital.

    Statute of Limitation

    The legal time limit to make a medical negligence claim is two years from the date of injury or date of knowledge that the injury or illness resulted from medical negligence. For children/minors, the time limit expires two years after their 18th birthday. You may contact a solicitor to discuss your case to advise of the Statute of Limitations applicable to your case.

    Our team

    Coleman Legal LLP Team

    The medical negligence team at Coleman Legal has significant experience in dealing with claims where hearing impairment or loss occurs as a result of substandard or negligent medical treatment. We have also taken instructions in relation to the recent audiology review findings in relation to paediatric audiology.

    Coleman Legal LLP

    84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
    D01 YX60
    DX 112002

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    Email: [email protected]
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    Clodagh Magennis

    Clodagh Magennis

    Head of Client Services

    P: 1800-844-104
    E: [email protected]

    ”At Coleman Legal, excellence in customer care is paramount. We aim to meet both prospective and existing client’s needs in a professional, engaging, and friendly manner with a clear objective to give quality legal advice and reach a positive outcome.”

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