An Overview of the Different Types of Hearing Loss

When do people suffer from hearing loss?

The ear is a complex organ that is comprised of many different parts. Without getting into the specifics of what these are, the general classification is that there is the outer, the middle, and the inner ear. A harmony exists between these three parts, which are responsible for perceiving audio signals and transmitting them so that they can be understood by the brain. But this harmony can be disrupted at several different parts and this is what gives rise to different types of hearing loss.

There are generally five different types of hearing loss, and those are:

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss
  • Conductive Hearing Loss
  • Mixed Hearing Loss
  • Central Hearing Loss
  • Functional Hearing Loss

human ear

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Considered to be one of the most common, this loss of hearing is characterized by damage to either the inner ear, or the acoustic nerve, and in some instances both. The documented causes for this type are different, and range from age, overexposure to noise, genetic problems, and fluid disturbances in the inner ear and disease. As there is nerve involvement, this kind of hearing loss is near-impossible to correct. Cochlear implants have demonstrated some success in correcting the impairment, but it is rather limited. But the good news is that there are chances that hearing aids, when taken from a right place, can help in the less severe cases of this type of loss.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss results from an acute loss of hearing either suddenly or over a couple of days.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This loss occurs when the conduction of sound to the middle or inner ear is interrupted. The sound is either blocked by earwax, by a foreign object lodged in the ear canal, obstruction of the middle ear cavity, perforations in the eardrum, or an infection of any one of the three bones of the middle ear. Medical or surgical interventions prove sufficient in correcting this loss. However, if the damage to the middle ear is permanent, the loss might be permanent too. A hearing aid device is recommended in this case.

Mixed Hearing Loss

This occurs when a person experiences two or more types of hearing loss, more commonly the two previously described.

Central Hearing Loss

This condition also occurs when the brain is unable to perceive the auditory signal. Truth is, the process of how the brain responds to different stimuli is exceedingly complex, and baffles modern medicine today. With this loss, you can hear, but cannot understand what is being said. Hearing tests conclude that the function of the ears is normal and this makes it harder to obtain a solution. Diagnosing this hearing loss is difficult, as no tests have been designed to assess a person’s ability to process complex information. There is no treatment, though control over the auditory environment has been shown to help.

Functional Hearing Loss

This impairment stems from a psychological background. A person suffering this type of hearing loss has a normal auditory system, but they do not consciously hear or respond. Therapy is used to overcome the emotional problem, which in turn restores normal hearing.

Author’s Bio

Erin Emanuel writes on various healthcare subjects. Here she shares some knowledge of the Different Types of Hearing Loss on behalf of the Hearing Excellence that provides assistance to the hearing impaired people.

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