Different Types of Hearing Loss and Why it Matters
The chances are high that you or someone close to you is dealing with hearing loss. It’s a condition that impacts approximately 48 million people in the United States. Hearing loss can not only cause discomfort, but it can be isolating and anxiety-inducing. This condition is not one size fits all, however, so getting to know the different types can help you decide what to do to start hearing better.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss occurs when there has been damage to one or more parts of your ear. Symptoms of hearing loss can be similar no matter what type you’re dealing with. Symptoms may include:
- Muffled sounds
- Feeling like you need to turn up the volume on the television
- Asking others to speak up or more clearly
- Difficulty understanding words
What Type of Hearing Loss Do You Have?
Hearing loss due to damage of your inner ear is known as sensorineural hearing loss. There can be damage to the nerve pathways that help you hear. This is the most common type of hearing loss, and can be caused by things like illness, certain medications, genetic conditions, excessive noise exposure, and aging.
Conductive hearing loss happens when there is a blockage preventing sound waves from moving past the outer or middle ear. While it’s not as common as sensorineural, you may see this hearing loss frequently in children who have ear infections or stick foreign objects in their ears. Other causes of conductive hearing loss include structural abnormalities in your ear, fluid in the middle ear, and earwax.
Multiple types of hearing loss can occur at the same time, which is known as “mixed hearing loss.” You may have multiple conditions that are causing harm to different parts of your ears. For example, you could have inner ear damage due to listening to loud music and have impacted earwax blocking sound from moving through your ear.
What Can You Do?
Sensorineural hearing loss often cannot be reversed, but conductive hearing loss may be treated with a procedure or with medication. Depending on the cause, hearing aids can be very helpful and provide a significant amount of relief for both types of hearing loss.
The first step to treating any type of hearing loss is to see a hearing care provider and get your hearing tested, along with a thorough examination. This can help you determine the severity of your hearing loss and can play a role in your course of action. Then, based on your type of hearing loss, you and your provider can decide on a treatment.
Ready to start treating your hearing loss? Reach out to us today.