With more than 48 million Americans experiencing some degree of hearing loss, being able to identify the common signs and understand the different types is crucial to prompt diagnosis and treatment. At Manna Audiology, we recognize how important communication is to your everyday life – and that starts with being able to hear clearly.
What are the signs of hearing loss?
Hearing loss can present a variety of different symptoms depending on the severity of your condition. In mild cases, you may feel like you can hear, but you can’t quite understand everything clearly – especially if you are in a noisy environment. You may also notice yourself turning the television volume up a few levels, or asking others to repeat themselves. As hearing loss progresses, you may not be able to tell where sound is coming from, or you may avoid social situations altogether because of how stressful it can be to try and hear the various conversations.
What are the types of hearing loss?
Hearing loss afflicts people in different ways – and can be either permanent or temporary. Temporary hearing loss often occurs due to an external factor, such as an ear infection, a wax impaction or brief exposure to loud noise, and resolves shortly after. Permanent hearing loss, however, can be sensorineural, conductive or mixed – and requires treatment and diagnosis from a hearing health professional.
- Sensorineural: Sensorineural hearing loss presents when issues occur within the auditory nerve or inner ear. This is most commonly caused by damage to the cochlea’s hair cells and can result from aging, frequent exposure to loud noises or congenital conditions. Hearing will continue to deteriorate if the hair cells receive further damage, making it vital to preserve the current ability.
- Conductive: This form of hearing loss develops when sound is not properly distributed and processed throughout the inner ear and cochlea. This can be caused by an issue with the ear canal, eardrum, or ossicles and Eustachian tube. Depending on the initial cause for hearing loss, which can range from ear infections to defects of the ear structures, conductive can be temporary or permanent.
- Mixed: When multiple factors contribute to your decline in hearing, this may be diagnosed as mixed hearing loss. With this condition, elements of both sensorineural and conductive hearing losses are present. So, while treating an ear infection may address the conductive hearing loss symptoms, there will still be issues because of the hair cell damage from sensorineural hearing loss.
Regardless what form of hearing loss you have, the permanent variety is most widely treated with hearing aids. These devices help to maintain your current hearing level, while also amplifying the sounds you struggle most with, making it easier to hear and communicate.
If you want to learn more about hearing loss and whether or not you may be developing this condition, talk with one of the professionals at Manna Audiology. We have the knowledge and the tools to help you enjoy those everyday sounds you’ve been missing.