An Audiologist Discusses Common Categories of Hearing Loss

Posted on: August 28, 2018

Many causes of hearing loss can be prevented, but a large majority of people inherit hearing problems or these hearing deficiencies develop in utero. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, two or three out of every 1,000 babies are born with some level of hearing loss in the United States, and it is common for deaf children to be born to parents with perfectly normal hearing.

While most hearing problems that people are born with are detected early on in the person's life, some forms of hearing loss worsen or begin later in life. Hearing loss in adults is usually a result of aging or trauma.

Types of hearing loss treated by an audiologist

There are three main categories of hearing loss that can affect adults: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss

This is a problem that occurs when the sound waves reaching the ear are not conducted correctly from the outer ear to the middle and inner ear. Otosclerosis is a common type of middle ear disease that falls into the conductive hearing loss category. If a person has otosclerosis, the tiny bones in the middle ear begin to harden and can no longer move to receive sounds as they are delivered, restricting what sounds reach the inner ear. This is an inherited condition, but most people with otosclerosis do not notice signs until they reach their preteen and teen years or even into their 20s and 30s.

Sensorineural hearing loss

This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss according to the American Hearing Research Foundation. If the inner ear or the nerve that spans from the ear to the brain is damaged, a person will experience sensorineural hearing loss, sometimes referred to as nerve deafness. Presbycusis is the most common and well-known type of sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is caused by the natural aging process of the auditory system and may not be noticed until later in life unless a person visits the audiologist regularly like they should. It has a gradual onset that will first affect the person's ability to hear higher frequencies.

Meniere's disease is another good example of sensorineural hearing loss. Meniere's disease is a type of inner ear condition in which hearing loss is experienced due to inner ear and nerve trauma. Most people notice signs of this condition during their middle ages. Dizziness, tinnitus, trouble hearing soft sounds and sometimes trouble hearing loud sounds is possible.

Mixed hearing loss

This is a combination of both previously mentioned types of hearing loss. When a person has conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, the outer or middle and inner ear are affected. Illness, medication, trauma and genetics are all common causes of mixed hearing loss.

Visit our office for help

The potential causes of hearing loss are vast. An audiologist can provide you with the answers and solutions you need when dealing with possible hearing impairments.

Call (415) 234-1145 today to reach Park Place Hearing Center.