Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss occurs for many reasons. It happens slowly over time or suddenly. Injuries and accidents cause hearing loss, but most people experience loss over many years. Age-related hearing loss combined with other symptoms is the top complaint we receive today. Here are the basic causes of hearing loss:
There are three basic types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural and mixed hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss means that structures of the middle or outer ear are damaged or degraded and therefore sound is not reaching the auditory nerve to the brain. This is usually caused by:
- Outer or middle ear infections
- Complete earwax blockage
- Deterioration of the middle ear bones (ossicles)
- Otosclerosis - fixation of the ossicles
- Perforated tympanic membrane - a hole in the eardrum
- Absence of the outer ear or middle ear structures
Sensorineural hearing loss involves the cochlea of the inner ear. Tiny hairs that transmit sound waves on the cochlea are often damaged or degraded. This is also a cause of deafness at birth or in young people. Causes:
Congenital: These hair cells have been abnormal since birth, which is considered a congenital condition.
Damage to hair cells: A deficit in hearing also occurs when the cells are damaged due to genetics, infection, drugs, trauma, or over-exposure to noise (late-onset or acquired).
Presbycusis: Hair cells are damaged by the aging process, which causes a kind of hearing loss known as presbycusis.
Mixed hearing loss describes the condition where individuals experience both conductive and sensorineural symptoms. This can have the same causes as the above conditions and can require a mix of treatments to best meet the individual’
Some organic types of loss like infections can clear on their own. It is possible that cleaning earwax can help. Damage to ear structures is more likely to require a hearing aid of some kind. Hearing loss is a natural process of aging for many people; aging is by far the largest cause. However, most people can be helped to the point that loss of hearing is negligible.
Visit or call Armand’s today to learn more about the causes and prevention of hearing loss.
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