We’re all subject to noise pollution in this day and age. Whether we’re blasting tunes while we work out or casually sitting on a plane, loud noises tend to affect our ears.
While this may seem a small annoyance, repeated exposure over time can have much larger consequences.
For some of us, these risks can be greater. For those who suffer from hearing loss, we can suffer from many different types. While there are many different sources, here are the different hearing loss types you can be affected by.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that is caused by damage to the inner ear, the auditory nerve, or the brain. It can be caused by several things, like disease, getting older, being born with it, or being exposed to loud noise or medicines that are bad for the ears. Most of the time, this hearing loss is permanent and can’t be fixed.
Some of the most common signs of sensorineural hearing loss are trouble understanding speech, trouble hearing in noisy or crowded places, and a ringing sound in the ears. People with this kind of hearing loss might be able to make up for it with hearing aids or other devices that help them hear better.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that may affect you. It occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear due to a damaged or blocked ear canal or a damaged middle or inner ear. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include fluid in the middle ear, a hole in the eardrum, ear infections, benign tumors, and otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth in the middle ear).
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss may include difficulty hearing, a sensation of fullness or pressure in the ear, and discharge or drainage from the ear. Treatment for this type of hearing loss will depend on the cause, including medications, surgery, or hearing aids.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss is a hearing loss that can make it hard for a person to hear well. It’s a mix of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, and it’s usually caused by problems with how the ear is built, a disease, or a burst eardrum. Those who have it may not be able to pick up sounds as well and have trouble understanding speech.
They may also have a hard time hearing out of one ear but hearing fine out of the other. The best way to treat mixed hearing loss depends on what causes it. Hearing aids, medical procedures, and surgery may help a person hear and speak better.
Central Hearing Loss
Central hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that happens when the auditory cortex can’t understand sound waves properly. Congenital disabilities, diseases like meningitis or encephalitis, a stroke, or an injury to the head can cause this kind of hearing loss. People with central hearing loss may have trouble understanding speech and other sounds, among other things.
Many people will need louder sounds or hearing aids to understand sounds better. Since hearing loss is in the brain, not the ear, you can’t fix it with medicine or surgery. Most treatments for central hearing loss focus on helping the person learn new ways to listen and talk to help them deal with their hearing loss better.
Auditory Neuropathy is a rare inherited condition where the sound gets transferred from the inner ear to the brain. Still, the brain does not correctly interpret the sound. This can affect an individual’s ability to understand speech and other sounds.
Symptoms of auditory Neuropathy can include difficulty understanding speech and noises, hearing sounds that aren’t there, and sound distortion. Diagnosis of auditory Neuropathy is made through hearing tests and brainstem audiometry, which measures the hearing nerve pathways.
Treatment of auditory Neuropathy includes hearing aids, cochlear implants, and digital speech processors. With proper treatment, individuals can often improve hearing outcomes.
Presbycusis is a hearing loss that most adults over 65 get. It is a loss of hearing in the inner ear that worsens with time. This means that the structures of the inner ear become less sensitive to sound and that the cochlear nerve’s connection to the brain is more likely to get messed up. Presbycusis can make it hard for a person to hear sounds with higher frequencies.
Some of the most common signs of hearing loss are having trouble following conversations, being unable to hear high-pitched sounds, needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, and muffled speech. For a proper diagnosis, a person with presbycusis should see an audiologist.
If this kind of hearing loss is found, it can be treated with the best hearing aids, assistive technology, and communication counseling. People with presbycusis can still be social, do things in their community, and live a productive life if they get the right kind of help.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a type of hearing loss that can happen to anyone exposed to loud noise for a long time. People who work around loud noises, like construction workers, farmers, and people who work in factories, airports, and the military, often get this kind of hearing damage. It also happens to people who listen to loud music on earbuds or headphones.
Some signs and symptoms of NIHL are the inabilities to understand speech in some places, ringing in the ears, and a loss of hearing. You can avoid permanent damage to your hearing if you limit your exposure to loud noises and wear hearing protection when necessary.
Learn the Manifestations of Different Hearing Loss Types
The three primary types of hearing loss are sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. Each type carries its distinct characteristics and sets of symptoms.
It’s important to understand these hearing loss types to recognize when someone needs medical help. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, contact an audiologist today to learn more and explore treatment options.
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