Hearing loss is a condition that affects 55 million Americans. It can be caused by many different factors and it can affect people of all ages. Although hearing loss is often associated with older adults, hearing loss affects people of all ages. There are several types of hearing loss which require different types of treatment including medications, surgery or both. Here’s a brief overview about each type:
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. It occurs when damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve affects your ability to hear sound. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by aging, genetics, chronic ear infections, head trauma and exposure to loud noises.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear. This can be due to an infection, fluid build up, impacted wax or other issues that affect the conduction of sound waves from the outer ear to inner ear.
A doctor may recommend surgery if there is an irritant present like impacted wax or a bone growth that’s causing problems with hearing. If nothing else works and your hearing continues to worsen despite trying everything else out there, then you may need a surgical procedure done on your ears that could restore some of your hearing capabilities back again.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, and it occurs when your ears have damage in more than one area. Mixed hearing loss can be caused by damage to the ear canal, the middle ear space or inside the inner ear (cochlea).
It’s important to note that many people have mixed hearing loss without being aware of it. If you have conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, this is called “mixed” hearing loss. The most common causes include:
- Damage to your eardrum or ossicles (the bones in your middle ear) caused by infections or trauma
- Damage to your cochlea from loud noises like gunfire or factory machines
Central hearing loss
Central hearing loss is caused by damage to the brain. It can be caused by trauma, infection, or stroke. It can also occur in people who have a tumor or other medical condition such as multiple sclerosis.
The most common cause of central hearing loss is age. As we get older, our brains lose some of their ability to process sound signals properly, which makes it more difficult for us to hear clearly—especially in noisy environments like restaurants or airports (or even just at home with the TV on).
Noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common form of hearing impairment, and it’s caused by long-term exposure to loud noises. This type of hearing loss occurs gradually and irreversibly, so it’s important to protect your ears from excessive noise in order to avoid permanent damage.
If you work in an environment that’s noisy or use headphones frequently, you should consider wearing ear plugs or other protective gear when exposed to loud sounds.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by following these steps:
- Start wearing ear protection when using power tools or listening to music with headphones at high volumes for long periods of time.
- Protect your ears from sounds above 85 decibels (dB), which is approximately as loud as a garbage disposal running next door or a lawnmower from across the street (about 25 feet away).
Hearing Loss Caused By Other Medical Conditions
- Diseases of the inner ear, including otosclerosis and acoustic neuroma (a tumor on a nerve leading to the inner ear)
- Diseases of other parts of the body that affect your hearing. For example, infections in your ear or balance system can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Other causes include meningitis, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and some medications including chemotherapy drugs
There are multiple types of hearing loss and each one requires different treatment.
There are multiple types of hearing loss and each one requires different treatment. The most common type is sensorineural hearing loss, which affects your inner ear. It may be caused by other medical conditions or exposure to loud noise.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants; however, sensorineural losses due to aging cannot be reversed. In some cases, people choose not to treat their sensorineural loss because it doesn’t bother them much but instead focus on other communication issues that might arise from hearing loss.
Conductive losses affect how sound travels through your outer ear and middle ear before reaching the inner ear where it’s processed for understanding by your brain. Conductive losses often result from damage caused by fluid build-up behind the eardrum after an infection or injury; they can also occur when wax builds up in the outer part of your ears (ear canal).
Conductors can be corrected with surgery combined with medication if there is fluid build-up behind the eardrum; however, conductive losses due to aging do not improve over time
With the information you’ve gained here, you should be able to determine which type of hearing loss you have and begin treatment. If you still have questions about your specific type of hearing loss or if you need help finding a good doctor who can diagnose it for you, contact us today.