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About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is when someone lacks the full range of sound needed to interact with the sounds around them. This loss can be mild, or it can range up to profound hearing loss. To help you better understand hearing loss, from what causes hearing loss to the different degrees of hearing loss, our hearing specialists at Hearing Healthcare Centers are here for you.

Different Types Of Hearing Loss

The term hearing loss actually encompasses three different types of hearing loss—conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss. Your hearing loss treatment will vary depending on the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Those individuals who have conductive hearing loss have an issue which is located either in the outer ear or the middle ear. These issues can range in severity from solid earwax blockage to malformed middle ear bones. In most cases, conductive hearing loss is more common in children as something they have since birth. However, adults can struggle with conductive hearing loss later in life, particularly if they have damaged their eardrum or the delicate sound-transmitting bones in the middle ear. In either case, correcting conductive hearing loss usually requires surgical intervention. Depending on the problem, treatment can range from eardrum repair surgery to having a cochlear implant placed.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The most preventable type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. It is often caused by exposure to loud noises. As these loud noises damage the sound transmitting hairs in the cochlea, hearing loss is a natural result. At this time, there is no surgery which can fix sensorineural hearing loss. However, hearing aids are effective in helping those with sensorineural hearing loss. As hearing aids can capture and amplify sound, you can regain much of your lost hearing when using hearing aids.

Mixed Hearing Loss

As the name implies, mixed hearing loss occurs when a person has both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Often, those people with mixed hearing loss need a specialized approach to correct their hearing loss, with a combination of surgery and hearing aids to help recover some of their hearing.

Recognizing Hearing Loss

For those who acquire hearing loss, like those who develop sensorineural hearing loss because of noise damage, recognizing that you have hearing loss can be difficult. As hearing loss due to noise damage is usually a gradual process, your hearing loss can invade your life without you realizing that your hearing is no longer 100%. If you are concerned that your hearing has become damaged, there are signs you can look for that will indicate that you have hearing loss and need hearing aids.

  • It is difficult for you to hear women and children.
  • Group conversations are hard to follow, as the words tend to blur or muddle together.
  • Your tinnitus symptoms have increased, impacting your daily life.
  • All your entertainment and media devices are set at the max volume or near it.
  • You become disoriented in busy areas where there are many people and sounds.
  • Consonants such as f, sh, h are difficult for you to hear.
  • Should these signs sound familiar to you, then you may want to schedule a hearing exam with one of our hearing specialists to have your hearing evaluated.

What Causes Hearing Loss

There are many factors which can contribute to hearing loss, from disease to loud noise damage. However, some of these factors are more common than others. Some of the more common causes of hearing loss are:

  • Genetics - If hearing loss is a common issue in your family, you do have a higher likelihood of also having hearing loss. However, if you know there is a history of hearing loss, it is important that you take steps to protect your hearing.
  • Noise exposure - Many people think nothing about attending a noisy concert or firework show with no ear protection. Yet, prolonged exposure to loud noises has a cumulative effect and often leads to sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Earwax blockage - While not often a permanent form of hearing loss, earwax can cause conductive hearing loss, as sounds are unable to reach the eardrum. If the blockage is left uncorrected, the wax can harden and cause damage to the eardrum.
  • Eardrum damage - Your tympanic membrane (eardrum) can become damaged from a number of things, ranging from using cotton swabs incorrectly to repeated ear infections which leave it scarred. Once the tympanic membrane is damaged, it will cause hearing loss. Surgery is required to repair it, if possible.
  • Head or neck injury - Damage to your head or neck can also result in hearing loss, as these areas are closely connected to your auditory system.
  • Medication - Hearing loss can also be a result of various medications. There is over 200 ototoxic medication which can damage your hearing either temporarily or permanently. It is important to ask your doctor before starting a new course of medication.
  • Illness - There are a number of diseases and illnesses which can affect your hearing from acoustic neuromas (tumor on auditory nerve) to Ménière’s disease, which affects balance and hearing. These illnesses often result in conductive hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Levels

When it comes to hearing loss, there are various levels of hearing loss which can be experienced. What level of hearing loss you have will need to be determined by one of our hearing specialists. If you do have hearing loss, what level of hearing loss you have will depend on what decibels (dB) you cannot hear any more. As we show you the different hearing loss levels, refer to the decibel scale to help you understand the impact.

Hearing Loss Level dB Range
Normal -10 to 15
Slight 16 to 25
Mild 26 to 40
Moderate 41 to 55
Moderately Severe 56 to 70
Severe 71 to 90
Profound 91+

Correct Hearing Loss At Hearing Healthcare Centers

Hearing loss can be corrected and overcome with the right hearing specialists on your side. Here at Hearing Healthcare Centers, we tailor our hearing service to your needs, from personalized hearing tests to custom programming your hearing aids to ensure the best listening experience. To work with one of our hearing specialists at one of our four locations, contact us to make an appointment today.