Hearing loss is not just hearing loss. There are actually different types of hearing loss that have been identified. Understanding these different categories of hearing loss will help determine their causes and the best path for treatment.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss occurs in the outer and/or middle ear. Common causes related to the Outer Ear include earwax or foreign objects blocking the ear canal, skin infections (e.g. “swimmers ear”), and deformity of the outer ear or ear canal.
Common causes related to the Middle Ear include perforated eardrum, infection of the middle ear cavity resulting in fluid filling the normally air-filled space, and calcification or breakage of the bones of the middle ear.
In most cases, Conductive Hearing Loss can be treated medically (usually through the use of prescriptive medications or surgery). In some cases, Conductive Hearing Loss cannot be treated medically, but can be improved through the use of hearing aids/assistive listening devices.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs in the inner ear within the cochlea and/or the hearing (VIII/8th) nerve. If the hair cells within the cochlea become damaged, then we lose the ability to hear at soft and normal sound levels. In many cases, we also lose the ability to distinguish sounds resulting in difficulty understanding speech.
Common causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss include but are not limited to:
The natural aging process, genetics, noise exposure, medications (certain drugs can be toxic to the inner ear), birth defects, and certain virus’ and infections. Over 90% of all hearing loss is Sensorineural and cannot be treated through medication or surgery. However, in most cases, individuals with Sensorineural Hearing Loss can be helped significantly through the use of amplification systems (hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices).
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed Hearing Loss is a combination of conductive superimposed over sensorineural hearing loss. Often, this combination results in a severe or even profound degree of hearing loss.
It’s important to realize that you or a loved one might be suffering from hearing loss and, if so, that proper, professional evaluation is available to determine the type of hearing loss one is experiencing. For your free hearing screening from Sonus, simply call 1.888.574.6776.