Hearing loss is a common problem that often develops with age or is caused by repeated exposure to loud noises. Sometimes our hearing doesn’t work the way it should. Hearing loss can affect one ear or both ears and can have many different causes.
Hearing loss can occur suddenly, but usually develops gradually. General signs of hearing loss can include:
difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say asking people to repeat themselves listening to music or watching television with the volume turned up higher than other people require.
Hearing loss can develop if there is a problem with the hearing pathway at any point. If you have any worries about the reason of your hearing loss, you should consult an Audiologist.
Hearing loss is a condition that can be classified into several types based on its cause and severity. The three main types of hearing loss are:
Conductive Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear, which hampers the transmission of sound to the inner ear. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include earwax blockage, ear infections, fluid accumulation in the middle ear, or problems with the eardrum or the tiny bones (ossicles) in the middle ear. In many cases, conductive hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and is caused by damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the auditory nerve pathway connecting the ear to the brain. It can be caused by factors such as aging (presbycusis), exposure to loud noises, certain medications, genetic factors, and some diseases. Sensorineural hearing loss is often permanent, and while it cannot typically be cured, hearing aids or cochlear implants can help manage the condition.
Mixed Hearing Loss: As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means that there is damage or impairment in both the outer/middle ear and the inner ear or auditory nerve. It can result from multiple factors and requires a combination of medical, surgical, and/or amplification interventions, depending on the specific causes.
Additionally, there are two other less common types of hearing loss:
Central Hearing Loss: Central hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the auditory nerve or the central auditory processing centers in the brain. Even though the ears can detect sound, the brain may have difficulty processing or understanding it. This type of hearing loss can be caused by neurological conditions or damage to the brain.
Functional Hearing Loss: Functional hearing loss, also known as nonorganic or psychogenic hearing loss, is a type of hearing loss that has no organic cause or measurable hearing loss. It is typically related to psychological or emotional factors, where the individual perceives a loss of hearing without any physical damage to the ear or auditory system. It’s essential to have any suspected hearing loss evaluated by an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist to determine the type and appropriate course of treatment. Hearing loss can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, and early diagnosis and intervention can be crucial in managing the condition effectively.