If you’re like many people, you might think that hearing loss is the same for everyone and the only treatment for this is to get hearing aids.
If this is the case, you may be surprised to know that there is actually more than one type of hearing loss. There is in fact 3 different types of hearing loss and even more different causes for this hearing loss. Of course, this means that there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment.
You may think hearing loss only happens with old age, but it is a lot more common than you think. More than 1 in 10 Americans experience a level of hearing loss in their life, so you’ll more than likely know someone that has it or maybe you yourself are experiencing some level of hearing loss.
Sometimes, the thought of hearing loss can be daunting, but getting to grips with it is a lot easier once you know a bit more about it. That’s why we have put together this blog to help you understand the different types of hearing loss so that you can be on your way to better hearing health.
Conductive hearing loss
Like many other parts of your body, your ears are complex. They are made up of 3 parts, the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Each of these parts are essential in delivering sounds in order for your brain to process them. Sounds from the outside need to pass through each segment, if one of these segments is not working correctly, this can massively affect your hearing.
Conductive hearing loss happens when sound can’t effectively get from the outer ear to the inner ear. The cause of this can sometimes be a build-up of earwax, which can simply be solved by clearing the ears out. Similar causes of temporary conductive hearing loss are a build-up of fluid due to an ear infection or a ruptured eardrum, which is usually something that will heal on its own.
To make things a little more complex, the middle part of your ear is made up of tiny bones which can sometimes become damaged and cause conductive hearing loss. But don’t panic, this can usually be treated with surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss
This type of hearing loss affects the way your brain receives the signals from your inner ear. In order for sounds from the inner ear to reach your brain, they have to travel along your auditory nerve where they are processed so that you can understand the sounds around you. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs as a result of problems with either the inner ear or auditory nerve.
How does this part of the ear get damaged? Commonly, sensorineural hearing loss is a problem in the inner ear due to exposure of loud noises, accidents such as a head trauma, and aging. Damage from repeated exposure to loud noises often happens over a period of time and can occur from daily activities such as listening to loud music or working in a noisy environment such as a construction site without using correct hearing protection.
This is not always the case with noise-induced hearing loss however, sometimes the hearing loss can be sudden. This can be the result of being exposed to an unusually loud noise such as being close to an explosion.
Although sensorineural hearing loss is commonly due to environmental factors, other causes can include Meniere’s disease, genetics, and abnormalities in the shape of the inner ear. If sensorineural hearing loss is noise-induced or due to aging, it is often treated with hearing aids.
In some cases, hearing loss can be both conductive and sensorineural, which is why we call this type of hearing loss, mixed. If this is the case for you, depending on the severity of the hearing loss, treatment may involve having hearing aids fitted as well as medication and/or surgery.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, then why not get in touch with us here at Dr. Michelle to book your hearing evaluation today. We can help you get to the bottom of your hearing loss and make sure you receive the best care for you.