The Various Types Of Hearing Loss

The Various Types Of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is now very common across the world. In fact, people of all ages can suffer from hearing loss at some point in their lives. If you suffer from sudden or growing hearing loss, then you must find out why the problem is occurring.

In this article, we’re going tell you why all hearing loss is not the same and why people experience hearing loss in the first place. We’ll also share some information on the three different types of hearing loss and how they can be treated.

Not All Hearing Loss Is The Same

Unlike popular belief, hearing loss does not just happen as you get older. There are various types of hearing loss, all of which have their own symptoms, causes, and treatments. Also, these different types of hearing loss can happen to virtually anyone, no matter what their age.

Mom and her child with a hearing aid.

Traditionally, hearing loss occurs because of damage to inner ear cells or the auditory nerve. This type of problem can happen for a number of reasons that range from overexposure to loud noise or a birth defect.

Why People Experience Hearing Loss

As mentioned above, hearing loss can happen for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is an exposure to loud noises for a prolonged amount of time.

Loud noises and sounds that last for a prolonged amount of time can cause serious damage to your hearing. Research suggests that extended exposure to sounds above 85dB can cause hearing loss and that sounds above 140dB can cause immediate and irreparable damage.

Additionally, people traditionally experience hearing loss when they age. As with joints getting stiffer and eyesight getting worse, the nerves in the ears also get older thus reducing the amount we can hear.

Autoimmune diseases, infections such as mumps, meningitis, measles, and scarlet fever, as well as illnesses such as cancer can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss. Traumatic injuries can also cause hearing loss.

Not only this, you can experience different types of hearing loss because of a narrowing of the ear canal or obstruction caused by a foreign object in the ear canal or a build up of ear wax. Bone-like material can develop inside the ear canal as well thus causing blockages.

Lastly, tympanosclerosis, otitis media, otosclerosis, and abnormal growth can also cause a person to lose their hearing.

The Different Types Of Hearing Loss

As well as there being different causes, there are various types of hearing loss, all of which have their own set of unique symptoms, causes, and treatments. Here is a brief outline of all of them:

Conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss can affect both the volume and clarity of a sound. It can make noises sound too quiet or too loud and can make it difficult for a person to follow a conversation, especially when there are more than two people talking.

Not only this, if you suffer from this type of hearing loss you may find it hard to hear in noisy environments such as busy bars and restaurants or train stations.

You may also find it difficult to hear women and children in particular and you may find that certain sounds are harder to hear than others, for example, the pronunciation of words with the sound “s” or “th”.

In severe cases, you may suffer from a constant and consistent ringing in your ears and you could start feeling off balance.

All these symptoms occur because the hair-like cells in the inner ear are damaged. Unfortunately, there is no way of fixing this problem. That being said, sensorineural hearing loss can be treated with the use of the correct hearing aid.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is less common than sensorineural hearing loss. This is when there is damage to the middle or outer part of the ear, thus stopping sound from entering the ear in the first place.

This type of hearing loss leads to difficulty hearing the loudness of sounds without affecting the clarity. If you suffer from this type of hearing loss, you probably often ask people to speak more loudly. You may also turn up the television or radio.

In addition to the above, you may find it easier to hear out of one ear than the other and even experience pain in one or both ears. This can also cause a feeling of pressure in the ears.

Aside from making telephone conversations very difficult to have, severe cases often lead to foul odors coming from the ear canal. This is normally due to a foreign object or a build-up of old wax.

Conductive hearing loss can normally be treated with a variety of surgical and medical procedures. In many cases, a course of antibiotics can do the trick.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

As the name suggests, noise-induced hearing loss is caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises. As mentioned above, noises above 85dB will cause serious damage that is sometimes irreversible.

The damage from noise exposure is normally gradual which means that symptoms only appear over a certain amount of time. Also referred to as NIHL, this type of hearing loss combined with aging can lead to you needing hearing aids.

Unfortunately, many are not even aware that they are exposed to this level of sound on a daily basis, for example, when driving a motorcycle to and from work or when listening to music at maximum volume on their headphones.

Basically, when exposed to long durations of loud noise, it is essential that you protect your ears with earplugs or other protective devices. You must also ensure that you have your hearing tested in order to identify the early signs of hearing loss.

Get Help With Your Hearing

While there are ways to prevent any problems with your hearing, certain types of hearing loss cannot be controlled.

RIC Hearing Aids In The Ear

With this in mind, there are now a mound of hearing aids for you to choose from, all of which come with a variety of features and functionalities.

If you think you need a hearing aid but don’t know where to start your search, check out our reviews page here. In it, you’ll be able to find out about some of the best hearing devices on the market at the moment.

Resources:
HowStuffWorks

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