There are several distinct varieties of hearing loss, determined by which part of the auditory system is affected. In this short article we provide a summary of 5 categories – sensorineural, conductive, central, functional and mixed. Some forms of hearing loss are more easily treated than others, and we can show you your options following an initial examination.
Conductive hearing loss – In situations where sound waves aren’t properly conducted to the inner ear through the outer and middle ear, conductive hearing loss occurs. Conductive hearing loss is rather widespread and could be caused by an accumulation of ear wax, an accumulation of fluid in the eustacian tube, which keeps the eardrum from moving properly, a middle ear infection, a perforated eardrum, disease of the tiny bones of the middle ear and other blockages in the ear canal.
The majority of instances of conductive hearing loss are reversible, presuming there isn’t any permanent damage to the structures of the middle ear, and with proper treatment the issue usually clears up in a short amount of time. In some instances a surgical procedure can help to correct the issue or a hearing aid may be fitted.
Sensorineural hearing loss – This type of hearing loss is responsible for over 90 percent of the situations in which a hearing aid is worn. Sensorineural hearing loss is the result of damage in the inner ear or to the acoustic nerve, which blocks sound signals from reaching the brain. Also referred to as retrocochlear hearing loss or nerve deafness, the impairment is generally speaking permanent, although improvements in technology have allowed some formerly untreatable cases to see some improvement.
The most common factors that cause sensorineural hearing loss are the aging process, prolonged exposure to noise, issues with circulation of blood to the inner ear, fluid disturbance in the inner ear, drugs that cause damage to the ear, a small number of diseases, heredity and problems with the auditory nerve.
Hearing aids are adequate for most people who have this sort of hearing loss, but in more severe cases, a cochlear implant may help bring back hearing to those for whom a typical hearing aid is not enough.
Central hearing loss – Central hearing loss arises in situations where a problem in the central nervous system blocks sound signals from being processed by the brain. The person affected can seemingly hear just fine, but can’t decode or decipher what the speaker is saying. Numerous cases involve a problem with the individual’s ability to properly filter rivaling sounds. For example, the majority of us can hold a conversation with street traffic in the background, but people with this problem have a really hard time with this.
Functional hearing loss – A rare situation, this type of hearing loss is not physical. This condition is caused by psychological or emotional condition in which the person‚Äôs physical hearing is found to be normal, but they are not able to hear.Mixed hearing loss – As the term suggests, mixed hearing loss is a mixture of different types of hearing loss – sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Although there are a couple of other types of hearing loss, the combination of these 2 is most frequent.