Hearing loss can be caused by many different factors, which can manifest at any age. Each person’s hearing loss is different and unique to that individual. However, depending on which part of the ear is affected, each can be categorized into one of three different types of hearing loss, as follows:
Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. It occurs when the inner ear nerves (and hair cells) become damaged and don’t sufficiently send auditory signals to the brain. Unclear and muffled sound and speech, even when the volume is loud enough, is still difficult to hear. Normally, SNHL can’t be corrected medically or surgically. However, this particular and permanent type of hearing loss is treatable using hearing aids.
Possible causes of sensorineural hearing loss:
- Ototoxic drugs
- Genetic or hereditary hearing loss
- Head trauma
- Malformation of the inner ear
- Exposure to loud noise
Conductive Hearing Loss
Commonly, conductive hearing loss is the result of obstructions in the middle or outer ear, where sound isn’t able to properly conduct. Those with conductive hearing loss may notice a reduction in sound levels or their ability to hear faint sounds. Choices for treatment include medicine, surgery and hearing aids.
Possible causes of conductive hearing loss:
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Ear infection
- Poor Eustachian tube function
- Perforated eardrum
- Benign tumors
- Impacted earwax
- Infection in the ear canal
- Swimmer’s ear
- Presence of a foreign body
- Malformation of the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear
Mixed hearing loss
The combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss is mixed hearing loss. Possible treatment options include medicine, surgery and hearing aids.
If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, you can start by taking our free online hearing test. To confirm your results, you can get a full comprehensive hearing evaluation from a local hearing professional - just call (888) 919-6824 or click here to find a clinic near you.