When out and about, do you find yourself struggling to keep up with conversations? Or do you need people to repeat themselves, not once but twice…maybe even three times?
And when you’re at home, does the TV seem too quiet that you need to turn it up only to the frustration of other family members who say it’s now too loud?
These scenarios are common signs of hearing loss, and it affects nearly 48 million Americans. What most people don’t know, though, is that there are three types of hearing loss – conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.
Each type has different causes and different ways to treat it. Below is an explanation of each type and what we at All About Hearing can do for you.
Conductive Hearing Loss
If you have conductive hearing loss, there is most likely an obstruction somewhere along the path from the outer ear to the inner ear. While you can still hear something, it likely sounds muffled and distorted.
We’ll look inside your ear(s) to see if you have any excess earwax. Or if you’ve been ill recently, you may have developed an infection that could be causing the blockage. Other common causes can include a ruptured eardrum or a problem with the small bones that are located in the middle ear.
Fortunately, most of these issues can be resolved with medication or surgery. If for any reason these are unsuccessful or possible, then your hearing loss is known as permanent conductive hearing loss.
At this point, we’ll then discuss hearing aids with you, and explore the possibility of a middle ear transplant to help enhance your hearing ability.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Damage to the inner ear is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. This can happen if you are exposed to loud sounds on a continual basis such as loud music or industrial noise.
Other causes can include aging, head trauma, Meniere’s disease, illnesses, and ear malformations.
The ear is a delicate and complex organ, and within the inner ear you’ll find the cochlea – a snail shell shaped part that is lined with fine hair-like sensors. These sensors convert sound into nerve messages that the brain receives. If any of these sensors become damaged, then the brain can’t receive the messages clearly and hearing becomes distorted.
Sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent. Hearing aids are a solution we’ll discuss with you. For severe sensorineural hearing loss, cochlear implants might be an option.
Mixed Hearing Loss
If you have conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss, then this is referred to as mixed hearing loss. This means that the outer or middle ear is damaged plus there is an issue with the inner ear or the nerve signal pathway to the brain.
Medication or surgery is often recommended in addition to wearing hearing aids.
If you feel your hearing isn’t as good as it should be, don’t hesitate to see us. A hearing test will let us know what is happening with your ears, and it’s the first step to take towards better hearing.
All About Hearing is Midland, Texas’s hearing care expert. We are committed to caring for your hearing and overall wellbeing, ensuring that you get the most out of life. To begin your journey to better hearing, phone us today at 432-689-2220.
Dr. Sally earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1991 and a Master of Arts degree in 1994 at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her Doctor of Audiology degree in 2000 from the University of Florida. She became the first Doctor of Audiology in Midland and was among the first in the state when the requirements to practice Audiology changed from a Master’s Degree to a Doctorate. In 2011 she was recognized as Business Woman of the Year from the Midland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.