Most people don’t realize that there are different types of hearing loss. For most, it’s a case of just not being able to hear properly and that’s that. Right now, 1 in 10 American people suffer with some degree of hearing loss – that’s around 48 million people! The good news is that most hearing loss is treatable, but it is vitally important to know which type of hearing loss you suffer with in order get the correct treatment.
There are three different types of hearing loss and the treatment can differ depending on which one you’re suffering with.
This is the most common form of hearing loss. Causes may include exposure to loud noises, head trauma, aging, certain illnesses and diseases, and genetics. It can also be due to damage to sensors in the inner ear. The cochlea, which is a tiny snail-shaped and fluid-filled sensory organ in the inner ear, is lined with these tiny sensors that convert sound into nerve messages to be sent to the brain. If these are damaged, it can cause sensorineural hearing loss.
This form of hearing loss is irreversible and is commonly treated with hearing aids but in more severe cases, where hearing loss is profound, cochlear implants can be hugely beneficial.
Symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss include tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing sound in one or both ears), muffled sound, struggling with basic comprehension – especially when you are not face to face with the person you’re speaking to.
Still, a rather common form of hearing loss is more often than not a temporary condition caused by a blockage or malformation somewhere in the middle ear. This can include things such as a build-up of ear wax, a ruptured eardrum, fluid due to an ear infection, or a foreign object inside the ear.
Most of these problems can be treated with medication or surgery. However, if your conductive hearing loss is not treatable through these means, then middle ear transplants or hearing aids can help to improve your hearing.
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss can include a build-up of earwax, soreness or pain due to a build-up of fluid in the middle ear, and higher volumes appearing lower.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss and occasionally a person may experience both. This means that the damage is to both the outer ear and the inner ear and nerve pathways.
Treatment for mixed hearing loss can be a range of different surgical procedures, medication, and the use of hearing aids.
If you fear that you or a loved one might be suffering from a hearing loss, then consider visiting us here at Acadian Hearing. To book a hearing test, please click here and we look forward to seeing you.
Dr. Heidi J. Sorrells obtained her doctorate degree from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota. She is a certified Audiologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and she holds a Louisiana and a Texas Audiology License. Dr. Sorrells enjoys all aspects of working in a private practice audiology clinic but especially loves the challenges of vestibular (balance) assessment and rehabilitation.