When you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, it may be a result of a variety of causes. While some are born without the ability to hear, others may suffer from one of the many causes of permanent to temporary losses of hearing that is currently known. There are four main types of hearing loss that are used to designate the kind of loss – each have their own causes, severity levels, and treatment options.
When there is an issue with the middle or outer hear it can result in conductive hearing loss. There are a variety of factors that can cause this type of loss including ear infections, fluid build-up, abnormal bone growth, earwax buildup, and puncturing of the eardrum. In some cases, surgery can be used to correct the damage. Additionally, there are a variety of hearing devices that can be used including middle ear implants, bone conduction hearing aids, and bone anchored hearing devices.
If the cochlea (the hearing organ) or the auditory nerve malfunctions or becomes damaged it can result in permanent hearing loss. When this type of damage occurs, the ear is no longer able to send its electrical messages to the brain, causing the loss of hearing. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by age, genetics, accidents, exposure to extreme noise, as well as some medications and chemicals. While this type of hearing loss is often more severe, the use of cochlear implants, hybrid cochlear implants, and hearing aids can be used.
Auditory Processing Disorder
Unlike the first two types, an auditory processing disorder means that the individual is able to hear; however, they are unable to process the sounds effectively. This can mean that an individual is unable to recognize where sounds are coming from and they may be unable to understand speech.
In cases where there are aspects of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, the term mixed hearing loss is applied. In most cases, the sensorineural hearing loss is permanent while the conductive is temporary. This can be the case when someone with medical hearing loss contracts an ear infection.
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If you are concerned about hearing loss or seeking hearing evaluations, tinnitus evaluations, or hearing aid assistance, our doctors are ready to help. We are passionate about helping all of our patients improve their quality of life through better hearing. We also believe that patient education is critical, so you won’t be lead through endless sales pitches at our office. If you are interested in hearing how we can help you hear even better, contact us at (410) 838-4327 or online. For more hearing tips and articles, follow Bay Area Audiology on Facebook,Twitter,Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.