There are many different types of hearing loss, the most common type is sensorineural hearing loss (also called "cochlear", "inner ear" or "nerve loss"), the second most common type of hearing loss is conductive hearing loss. Other types of hearing loss include; mixed and central.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
When the problem is in the inner ear, a sensorineural hearing loss occurs. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. More than 90 percent of all hearing aid wearers have sensorineural hearing loss. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are: age related changes, noise exposure, inner ear blood circulation issues, various diseases, inner ear fluid disturbances, ototoxic medication, genetics and problems with the hearing nerve.
Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and there is currently no cure. The best treatment option for sensorineural hearing loss is to be fit with hearing aids. For severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss, cochlear implants may also be an option when traditional hearing aids are unsuccessful.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the ear canal, eardrum or the tiny bones of the middle ear; resulting in a reduction of loudness of sound reaching the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss may result from earwax blocking the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear, middle ear infection, obstructions in the ear canal, deformations, perforations (hole) in the eardrum or disease of any of the three middle ear bones.
People with conductive hearing loss may notice their ears seem to be full or plugged. This person may speak softly because they hear their own voice loudly. Crunchy foods, such as celery or carrots, seem very loud to the person with a conductive hearing loss and this person may have to stop chewing to hear what is being said. All conductive hearing losses should be evaluated by an audiologist and a physician to explore medical and surgical options.
Conductive hearing loss due to earwax, middle ear infection, fluid, etc are often temporary and resolve following medical treatment. Surgery of the middle ear is often an option for some conductive hearing losses and may result in restoring some hearing.
Conductive hearing loss can also be permanent if there has been permanent damage to any of the middle ear components or due to disease of the middle ear. For persons with permanent conductive hearing loss, hearing aids and/or implantable bone-anchored hearing implants may be an option.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss occurs when both a sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present.
Central Hearing Loss
Once our ears “hear” sound, the sound is the sent through electrical signals to our brain for processing via the auditory nerve. Various issues in the central nervous system can cause processing of auditory stimulus to breakdown – thus causing an auditory processing disorder. Persons suffering from this may hear but may have difficulty understanding or processing the sound that was heard.
If you suspect you have hearing loss, visit a hearing professional for further evalution.