About Hearing Loss
Types of Hearing Loss
Approximately 36 million adults in the US have hearing loss. Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system is damaged. There are two basic types of hearing loss, which are discussed briefly below. The audiologists at AOD Hearing Aid Center will educate you about your hearing loss and work closely with you through the amplification process.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot move efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss usually causes sounds/speech to be softer but does not distort the ability to understand speech as the neural component is still operational. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically.
Some possible causes of conductive hearing loss:
- Fluid in the middle ear from colds
- Ear infection (otitis media)
- Allergies (serous otitis media)
- Poor eustachian tube function
- Perforated eardrum
- Benign tumors
- Impacted earwax (cerumen)
- Infection in the ear canal (external otitis)
- Presence of a foreign body
- Absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.
SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled.
Some possible causes of SNHL:
- Drugs that are toxic to hearing
- Hearing loss that runs in the family (genetic or hereditary)
- Head trauma
- Malformation of the inner ear
- Exposure to loud noise