Hearing loss affects millions of Americans annually. What many do not realize is that there is more than one type of hearing loss. Each affects people differently. Join us as we dissect the different types of hearing loss. Last month, we discussed the concept of Tinnitus and how to live with it. Again, Tinnitus is not actually an illness in itself but a symptom or an aftereffect of another illness in your system.
It may even be a direct result of a certain type of hearing loss. In order to provide you with a better understanding of the different kinds of hearing loss, read on. There are three commonly known types of hearing loss:
Conductive Hearing Loss
This is normally associated with the middle and outer ear. This is when there is something stopping or hindering the processing of the sound into the middle ear. This is the more common form of hearing loss.
The causes can be something as simple as too much wax buildup or something as serious as a perforated eardrum, ear infection, or even Otosclerosis (the abnormal growth of a bone in the middle ear). Conductive hearing loss can be treated quite easily with medication, maintenance, and even mild forms of surgery. Technologies have even evolved to help those that suffer from conductive hearing loss. There are now better hearing aids available.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss is the more permanent form. This type of hearing loss normally occurs when there is actual damage or issue with your auditory nerve or your body’s hearing organ: Cochlea. The ear has tiny hairs which pick up vibration and send it up the pathways into your brain. This is where your body processes sound. If those tiny hairs and other cells that have to do with auditory sense are dulled or damaged, the process cannot complete itself. Sensorineural hearing loss does not usually happen without a direct cause.
Advanced age is one of the predominant causes of sensorineural hearing loss. Other common causes are massive injuries or incidents where in trauma is dealt to the ear. Those born without the ability to hear often have sensorineural hearing loss and usually has a structural malfunction in the basic components of the ear. If you have sensorineural hearing loss the sound you hear is either distorted or dulled.
Auditory Processing Issue
Your hearing is affected when your brain is not able to fully process the stimulation from your ear. This type of hearing loss occurs when the ear is fine but the brain is not. Think of it this way: the drive-thru function is there but the store is shut.
In such cases, the issue can either start early in life—which is why early detection is necessary. It could be something as simple as a speech developmental issue. It could also be born from injury and accidents. It is best to partner up with a GP or a specialist that can provide you with clear options to pursue if you have auditory processing disorders.