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If your family has been complaining that you don’t hear as well as you used to, and you’ve noticed that you struggle to follow conversations, you probably have hearing loss. You’ve been turning up the TV volume, and asking people to repeat themselves far too often. But what are the different types of hearing loss, and how do you know what type of hearing loss you have?
There are 3 main types of hearing loss, and each one has its own causes. Treatment for each type of hearing loss might also vary, which is why at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions we perform comprehensive hearing tests to get a complete picture of your hearing health.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. This permanent hearing loss is caused by damage to the delicate cells in the inner ear, or along the neural pathway that carries sounds to the brain. When these cells are damaged or die, your brain can’t receive signals about all the sounds happening around you, and you experience hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is often caused by exposure to dangerously loud noises that damage the cells in the ear. Sensorineural hearing loss can also have genetic causes, or be the result of an illness, injury, or ear infection. Age related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is also a type of Sensorineural hearing loss, and affects thousands of seniors.
When you experience sensorineural hearing loss, not only is the loudness of the sound affected, the clarity also suffers. You may still hear many of the sounds around you, but it might sound like voices are muffled. You’ll struggle to hear in noisy environments where there are a lot of background sounds, and often miss high pitched sounds, like the birds chirping outside, or the voices of women and children. Speech will also be harder to understand, and some consonant sounds, like “s” or “th” will be difficult to hear.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Another type of hearing loss is conductive hearing loss. This hearing loss mainly affects the volume of the sounds you hear. Conductive hearing loss isn’t as common as sensorineural hearing loss, and is the result of a blockage in the outer or middle ear that’s stopping sounds from reaching the inner ear. Sounds will still be clear, since there is no damage to the inner ear, but it will sound like someone has turned down the volume a few too many notches. Conductive hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, and is caused by ear infections, illnesses, damage to the ear drum, or even a build-up of earwax.
Those with conductive hearing loss often experience more hearing loss in one ear than the other, and complain about a feeling of pressure or pain in one or both ears. They struggle to talk on the phone, and can’t enjoy a normal conversation. Conductive hearing loss can be treated by finding the cause of the hearing loss, such as an injury or infection, and treating the problem can sometimes reverse the hearing loss.
Mixed Hearing Loss
The third type of hearing loss is mixed hearing loss, or hearing loss that is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Mixed hearing loss is often caused by an illness or injury, though it can also happen slowly over time, as one type of hearing loss makes the other type worse. An example of this would be someone with conductive hearing loss developing presbycusis when they’re older, or someone with sensorineural hearing loss suffering from a build-up of earwax.
Treating Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, whatever the cause, visit us today at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions to learn about your treatment options. Sensorineural hearing loss can be treated with a quality pair of hearing devices, and these will change the way you hear. Not only will they make sounds louder so you can hear all the sounds around you, and send more complete signals to the brain, they’ll also improve the sound clarity. Advanced programs and features will help you hear in any listening environment, focus on the sounds you want to hear, enhance speech, and reduce distracting background sounds.