Understanding The Different Types of Hearing Loss

Think you or your loved one may be experiencing problems with your hearing? Understanding the different types of hearing loss and its causes will help you figure out the next best steps. Here in this article, we will discuss the possible roots of your concern, and provide expert insight on how this may have developed into the issue that you are dealing with now.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The most common permanent hearing loss, sensorineural develops when: (1) the hair cells in the cochlea—the part of the ear that transforms vibrations of the cochlear fluids and neighboring structures into nerve impulses; and (2) when the cochlear nerve—the part that is responsible in transmitting electronic impulse to the brain, are damaged,

Possible Causes

  • History of hearing loss in the family
  • Natural aging process
  • A disease or accident that affected the inner ear
  • Excessive exposure to loud noises
  • Exposure to chemicals or medications that affected the inner ear
  • Inborn

Symptoms

  • Hearing muffled sounds
  • Difficulty following a conversation when two or more people are speaking simultaneously
  • Difficulty following a conversation around noisy environments such as restaurants
  • The perception of loudness is affected
  • Reduced sensitivity to soft sounds

Management

Most cases of sensorineural hearing loss can be managed with the use of hearing aids. For more severe cases, patients may or may not be qualified for cochlear implants, depending on one’s overall health condition.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Our ears are made of three parts—outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem in the outer or middle ear that interferes sounds from passing through to the inner ear.

Possible Causes

  • Colds or allergies that produce fluid in the middle ear
  • Otitis media or infection in the middle ear
  • External otitis or infection in the ear canal
  • A hole in the eardrum
  • Earwax buildup
  • Abnormal bone growth

Symptoms

  • Difficulty hearing sounds at a normal volume, which often leads to turning the television, radio, and speaker’s volume up
  • Pain in the ears
  • The sensation of pressure in the ears
  • Difficulty carrying out conversations over the phone
  • A feeling that one’s own voice sounds different or louder than usual

Treatment/Management

Conductive hearing loss cases caused by wax buildup or ear infection are temporary conditions. These can be addressed through cerumen extraction, by taking antibiotics, or by undergoing a surgical procedure as may be prescribed by an otorhinolaryngologist. Hearing loss cases caused by abnormalities may or may not be considered permanent conditions. In cases where a surgical procedure can not revert hearing level to normal, hearing aids are often suggested.

Mixed Hearing Loss

As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss occurs when both sensorineural and conductive hearing losses are present. Often times, the sensorineural component of the condition is permanent, while the conductive component is temporary. For this type of hearing loss, addressing the conductive component is often suggested first. Once the conductive component is addressed, they can proceed to see their Audiologist or consult their Otorhinolaryngologist for a possible hearing aid use.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms listed above, don’t think twice about consulting to a hearing health expert. The earlier we are able to detect the problem, the better the outcome that we can expect. Call Active Hearing Center at (632) 280 1292 to schedule your hearing test!