Like any other part of the body, ears play an important role in your overall wellbeing. The auditory system is a complex body system that primarily processes hearing senses and also helps to control the balance of the body. Hearing impairment is among the top three common health concerns in the U.S, and it can negatively impact different facets of your life. About 20% of American report some level of hearing loss.
Although hearing loss is a common health problem, it’s still a unique condition that affects individuals differently. It’s unlikely to find people experiencing the same kind of hearing loss, and it’s strange for a person to suffer the same loss in both ears. And that’s why it’s crucial to seek the services of an audiologist to get a better understanding of your condition.
Certain conditions, including the build-up of wax, infections, illness, genetics and ruptured eardrum may contribute to hearing impairment. Other contributing factors associated with loss of hearing sense are medication, aging, trauma and long-term exposure to noise. To understand this condition properly, here are three common types of hearing loss you need to know.
Sensorineural hearing loss
This is perhaps the most common type of hearing impairment, and its problem originates from the sensory ear organ or the neural part that controls the ability to hear. Damage to any part of the auditory nerve will affect the normal transmission of nerve signals to the brain. This, in turn, affects the ability to hear sounds clearly in their original pitch.
Some of the common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include blood vessels infection, traumatic injuries, abnormal loud sounds, auto-immune diseases and certain types of medication. For those children born with this condition, it’s most likely caused by a genetic disorder. Unborn children are also at risk of developing hearing loss as a result of infection from their mother through the womb.
One of the major symptoms of the sensorineural condition is the perception of noise or consistent buzzing in the ears. This symptom is known as tinnitus, and it’s associated with injured ear, damaged hair cells and circulatory disorder. There are two forms of tinnitus, which are objective and subjective tinnitus. But about 99% of all reported tinnitus cases are subjective.
While there is no absolute method to repair damaged auditory nerve or repair the micro hair cells of the ear, the use of hearing aids can help with the condition. Through evaluation and ear checkups, an audiologist can help uncover your problem and administer the right treatment depending on the severity of the loss.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss is the less common type of hearing impairment. It’s a condition caused by damage to the middle or the outer ear structures. The damage obstructs sounds from being relayed to the inner ears, but fortunately, the condition may be remedied through surgical operations. Conductive hearing loss is caused by various factors, depending on which part of the ear is affected. Examples include wax impaction, stenosis, inflammation of the tympanic membrane, obstruction in the eustachian tube, cancerous tumors and growths and more.
Upon visiting an audiologist, be sure to let them know some of the symptoms you are experiencing, which may include things like ear pain, disturbing phone conversations, ear fullness and foul-smelling ears. This condition can be eliminated with medical treatments. But this will also depend on the primary cause of the problem. A treating audiologist and otologist will assess your condition and monitor your hearing ability to determine the most appropriate hearing solution for your case.
Mixed hearing loss
This is the third type of hearing loss characterized by the combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Although trauma is the main cause of mixed hearing loss, it’s can also be aggravated by another form of hearing loss. If you are exhibiting the symptoms of sensorineural and conductive, then you might be suffering from mixed hearing loss. It treatable using surgical operations and can be managed effectively using hearing aids depending on the cause of the two other hearing loss.