What Are the Different Types of Hearing Loss?

by Guest Posts

Many things can lead to hearing loss today. No age is immune to this problem, either. Hearing loss falls into one of three broad categories. What should a person know about each type of hearing loss when speaking to their doctor about the signs of hearing loss they are experiencing?

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

When the hearing nerve or inner ear sustains damage, a person might lose all or part of their hearing. Doctors refer to this as sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to the cochlea’s hair cells. This remains the most common kind of hearing loss today and cannot be treated with the help of surgery or other medical interventions. Fortunately, hearing aids technology recognizes this and helps men and women suffering from this type of hearing loss.

Many things may lead to sensorineural hearing loss. For some people, it happens as part of the aging process. Other people experience this hearing loss as a result of regular exposure to loud noises. Certain medications may bring about sensorineural hearing loss or it could be the result of a genetic condition. However, injury and disease might also affect a person’s hearing in this way.

If this hearing loss comes on suddenly, see a doctor right away. Rapid treatment may be able to help improve the hearing. Sudden hearing loss is hearing loss that occurs over a few days or in less time.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is the result of a blockage in the ear. Sound waves cannot travel through to the inner ear as a result. Earwax or a foreign object may be present in the ear canal or it might be fluid or a bone abnormality that is preventing the sound waves from reaching their destination. An infection or injury to the eardrum might also result in this type of hearing loss.

Fortunately, this type of loss can often be treated with medicine or surgery. Children who put something in their ear, for example, may experience conductive hearing loss. Removing the object allows the sound waves to travel to the inner ear. Recurrent ear infections can bring about conductive hearing loss. Treating the infections with medicine or tubes in the ears may allow the person to hear clearly once again.

Mixed Hearing Loss

As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss brings together conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Often, these individuals present with sensorineural hearing loss that is compounded by conductive hearing loss. Addressing conductive hearing loss may improve individuals’ hearing before they are fitted with a hearing aid or other device. 

Baseline Hearing Test

The doctor must determine which type of hearing loss a person has to develop the appropriate treatment plan. The doctor may complete various tests to assess the hearing. Most individuals never have a hearing test once they leave grade school, but they should. In fact, hearing tests should be completed yearly to catch any problems early. The doctor can use the results of these tests to see how the hearing has changed over time and the severity of the loss. This information is also needed when creating a treatment plan.

A person should never assume their hearing loss is simply a part of the aging process. Often, it has a treatable cause if caught early. If you have noticed any changes in your hearing, make an appointment with your doctor right away. They can help you determine the cause of this loss and how to move forward, as your hearing is too important to ignore.

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