Listen carefully: When you notice hearing loss of any type, whether it’s just for a few seconds or only in noisy places, you should have your hearing checked immediately. Hearing loss comes in different forms, with varying treatments, and it is important to find the best path for your hearing and the health of your ears.
Types of hearing loss
If you are experiencing hearing loss of any kind, a hearing test with a trained audiologist or hearing professional can help you understand your particular type of loss and its best course of treatment.
Following are several common types and terms when it comes to hearing loss:
Temporary hearing loss: Often induced by noise (a loud rock concert, for instance), temporary hearing loss generally only lasts for a few hours and is often accompanied by ringing in the ears. A word of caution: if you are continually exposed to loud noises, temporary hearing loss can become permanent.
Permanent hearing loss: Unlike temporary loss, permanent hearing loss cannot be reversed and usually involves damage to the auditory nerves. Treatment typically requires the use of hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss: A condition of the outer or middle inner ear, this type of hearing loss occurs when sounds cannot be transmitted to the inner ear. It is usually medically treatable. Often temporary, conductive hearing loss can be caused by wax build-up, fluid in the middle ear, or a perforated ear drum.
Sensorineural hearing loss: The most common type of hearing loss, often due to aging, sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear and/or hearing nerve are damaged and fail to transmit signals to the brain. This type of hearing loss, which can also be caused by a virus, prolonged exposure to loud noises, or reduced blood circulation, is often permanent and typically requires the use of hearing aids.
Mixed hearing loss: Sometimes hearing loss can be a combination of both conductive and sensorineural. In the case of mixed hearing loss, a combination of medication and/or surgery, along with hearing aids, is sometimes the best treatment plan.
Because hearing loss can be so complex, it is important to work with a professional you can trust. Find a qualified ear doctor or hearing center in your local area. Over 4300 independent hearing professionals across the US.