Types and Causes of Hearing Loss

Types of hearing loss include conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss is caused by damage to or blockage of the ear canal or middle ear. Most people have experienced some degree of conductive loss when they have had ear infections or substantial amounts of earwax. In most cases conductive loss is correctable but in some cases the damage is such that it cannot be reversed and hearing devices are the best option for improving speech understanding.

Sensorineural loss is permanent and is the result of damage to the nerve cells responsible for detecting and transmitting sound to the brain. Causes of nerve damage include: noise exposure, normal aging, certain medical conditions, genetic predisposition and very rarely tumors. There is a common misconception that hearing devices cannot help people with sensorineural hearing loss. In reality, most people with sensorineural hearing loss receive significant benefit from hearing devices especially in more difficult listening situations. This benefit continues to grow as modern technology continues to improve. Hearing devices cannot restore normal hearing but they can make life more social, more comfortable and more productive for many individuals.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss:

  • Asking people to repeat themselves frequently
  • Missing key words in a conversation when talking in noisy surroundings
  • Difficulty hearing on the telephone
  • Turning up the volume on the television or radio
  • Feeling people mumble or speak more softly than usual
  • Friends or family suggest you get your hearing checked

Causes of Hearing Loss

  • Loud noise exposure
  • Age-related hearing loss known as Presbycusis
  • Familial/genetic predisposition to hearing loss
  • Infection and Certain Medical Disorders
  • Tumors (rare)