Types and Causes of Hearing Loss

August 2016 Blog Image

Hearing loss can feel like uncharted territory when you aren’t sure how or why it happened. Hearing loss can develop at any age and can be caused by many different factors. Did you know that only five percent of hearing loss in adults can be improved medically or surgically? The vast majority of American’s with hearing loss can be treated by hearing aids. Before looking into treatment options, however, it’s important to understand the different types and causes of hearing loss.

There are three categories that help define the type of hearing loss, identified by the part of the ear that been affected.

Here’s a breakdown of each:

Sensorineural – the most common type of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is easily treated with hearing aids. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear nerves are damaged and don’t send the right messages to the brain. Consequently, sounds become muffled and unclear, even when someone is speaking directly into the ear.

What can cause SNHL? Here is a quick list:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Illness
  • Ototoxic drugs
  • Head trauma
  • Malformation of the inner ear

 

Conductive: While SNHL cannot be medically or surgically treated, conductive hearing loss sometimes can. Conductive hearing loss is rarer and occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently to the eardrum and the tiny bones of the middle ear.

Possible Causes:

  • Impacted earwax
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Ear infection
  • Allergies
  • Infection in the ear canal
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Presence of a foreign object
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Malformation of the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear

 

Mixed: A combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss can be caused by a number of different causes and can usually be treated surgically, medically or with hearing aids.

If you or a loved one feels like they have been experiencing hearing loss, contact us today to find the location nearest you. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about your hearing.

 

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