Did you know that about 48 million Americans report hearing loss? Some people do have varying degrees of hearing loss. A common disorder, hearing loss, can affect anyone.
Still, there’s good news. In the medical field, more effective treatments are available.
If you want to learn more about hearing loss and its treatments, this article is for you. Read on to explore the main types of hearing loss. Furthermore, you’ll learn about the causes and symptoms of hearing loss.
Let’s dive in!
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is one of the main types of hearing loss. It is caused by damage to the inner ear and the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. This hearing loss is usually permanent but can sometimes be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
In sensorineural hearing loss, damage to the inner ear disturbs the way sound waves are converted into electrical signals. It also blocks the ability of neurons to receive alerts from the inner ear. This hearing loss is usually accompanied by an inability to hear high-frequency sounds.
People may have difficulty understanding speech even when they can hear it. Treatment of sensorineural hearing loss usually involves hearing aids. For more severe cases, cochlear implants may be necessary.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss is a prevalent type of hearing loss that is sometimes misunderstood. It can be challenging to detect and treat since it combines two types of hearing loss, as the name implies.
On the other hand, an audiologist or hearing health professional can help discover the underlying reasons for the problem and, hopefully, provide measurable relief.
Conductive Hearing Loss
It occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear. This can be caused by a buildup of wax, a punctured eardrum, a foreign object in the ear, fluid, infections, or any other physical issues. It prevents a sound from adequately traveling to the inner ear.
Conductive hearing loss can range from mild to significantly impaired and can cause difficulty hearing soft or distant sounds. This hearing loss is often corrected with medication, surgery, or a hearing aid.
It is essential for anyone concerned about possible hearing loss to get an evaluation from an audiologist. This follows their instructions on how to manage the issue best.
Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder
An abnormal connection between the inner ear characterizes ANSD. The auditory nerve causes a disconnect between the acoustic signal in the inner ear and the electrical signal sent to the brain. This type of hearing loss falls into the mixed hearing loss category.
This results in a distorted or absent perception of sound on a conscious level. However, the sound is still being detected on an involuntary level.
ANSD is a type of hearing loss that is especially difficult. This is to diagnose as the cause of the hearing loss is not always obvious. However, through extensive hearing tests, it is possible to detect and diagnose individuals with ANSD accurately.
Treatment for ANSD generally includes amplifying devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, as well as auditory and speech therapy.
Unilateral Hearing Loss
It affects just one ear and is caused by something inside or outside the ear, such as a:
- the buildup of earwax
- a virus
- a tumor
- even a stroke
It can significantly affect one’s overall well-being and hearing. With unilateral hearing loss, one ear may have better hearing than the other, or one ear may not be able to hear at all. Conversations in a noisy environment may become difficult as one ear may not pick up all the sounds.
People with unilateral hearing loss may struggle to locate the source of the sound. Hearing aids may be needed to help them improve their listening abilities. They may also need specialist assessments for the hearing aid to be programmed for their needs.
Central Auditory Processing Disorder
It is a condition where a person’s hearing is normal, but the brain has difficulty processing sound. CAPD often affects language development, reading, spelling, and communication.
It can also lead to difficulty distinguishing sounds like those used in speech, music, and the environment. CAPD can be caused by hearing loss in the outer, middle, or inner ear or from issues in the central nervous system.
People with CAPD may also have attention, memory, and social difficulties. Treatment may include auditory therapy, speech therapy, environmental modifications, and assistive technology.
It is essential to seek early identification and intervention. This ensures that a person with CAPD is given the support they need.
Common treatments for hearing loss include medications, hearing aids, cochlear implants, and surgical procedures. Medications can help to reduce inflammation and improve the hearing process. Hearing aids can improve the ability to hear sounds but cannot restore normal hearing.
Cochlear implants are surgically installed devices that bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Surgical procedures may be needed to correct underlying anatomical issues, such as ear infections or malformations.
Impact of Hearing Loss
These hearing losses can cause affected individuals to struggle with communication, diminish their quality of life, and lead to a heightened risk of developing mental health issues.
Additionally, those with hearing loss are likely to experience social isolation, as they may not feel confident going out in public or participating in activities where they cannot understand what is happening. In any case, those with hearing loss should always consult a physician to determine the appropriate treatment.
The Role of Audiologists
Audiologists are healthcare professionals trained to diagnose, evaluate, and treat various hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists play an essential role in diagnosing hearing loss using specialized testing equipment. This is to measure the ability to detect and comprehend sounds.
Audiologists are health professionals trained in diagnosing, managing, and rehabilitating these types & degrees of hearing loss. Audiologists are responsible for assessing, diagnosing, treating, and managing these types of hearing loss using the latest and most advanced hearing aids.
If you experience sudden hearing loss, check out this shop for hearing aids. This is where you can find different types of hearing aids.
Understanding the Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a general term that covers a wide range of hearing impairments. No matter the type of hearing loss, the best way to address it is to seek an experienced hearing healthcare professional. Start your journey now to a better hearing life.
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Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.