Types of Hearing Loss
Learn about some of the common types of hearing loss, their causes, and their degrees.
Conductive hearing loss is mechanical. Essentially, this means that something — usually a physical condition or disease — is preventing sound from being conducted from the outer or middle ear to the inner ear, where nerves are stimulated to carry sound to the brain.
The causes of conductive hearing loss can often be identified and treated. They include fluid or wax build up in the ears, an ear infection, a foreign object lodged in the ear, a ruptured ear drum, or malformations of the ear.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs when there is a problem with the sensory and/or neural structures in the cochlea (the inner ear).
Causes include aging, exposure to loud noises, certain illnesses and medications, genetics, and trauma.
While sensorineural hearing loss is almost always permanent, most people who have it can benefit from hearing aids.
As you might expect, mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means there is damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear at the same time. This type of hearing loss ranges in severity from mild to profound.
Tinnitus is often a symptom of hearing loss, but it is possible to have tinnitus with normal hearing as well. Tinnitus is the perception of sound in a person’s ears, usually ringing, humming, or buzzing, that has no external source.
Tinnitus is usually the result of prolonged exposure to loud noises, and although there is no cure, there is a wide variety of techniques and hearing appliances that can reduce the symptoms.
Those with auditory processing disorders have normal hearing, but there is a disconnect between what is heard, and what the brain understands.
The brain has difficulty processing the information contained in sound, including understanding speech, and identifying where it comes from.
There is no known cause of auditory processing disorders, but there are many management strategies that can help.
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