Understanding Hearing Loss Better: The Three Types of Hearing Loss

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Hearing Loss Types

Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions in the world. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, and ethnicity. Lucky are we who are born in this generation for we are able to counter this with the help of hearing aids. In managing such problem, it is important to know which type of hearing loss you are dealing with. And in your journey to understanding hearing loss better, we highly encourage you to reach out to a hearing care specialist, get a professional hearing test and find out the best ways to improve your hearing.

Listed below are the three types of hearing loss.

1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This is the most common type of hearing loss. Deterioration in hearing loss occurs when the auditory nerve or the inner ear’s hair-like cells are damaged. Because of the damage, this bundle of nerve fibres is unable to function properly in such a way that they cannot accurately send electrical information to the brain, which should be interpreted as sounds. When suffering from sensorineural hearing loss, the intensity of sound received is reduced or distorted even when the sound is loud enough. This type of hearing loss is permanent in most cases.

Sensorineural hearing loss can be hereditary. Meaning, a child may inherit the same health condition if it runs in the family or an infection is transmitted during pregnancy. It can also happen as a result of natural aging, as a side effect of other medical conditions, trauma due to accidents, and excessive exposure to loud noises.

You may be experiencing sensorineural hearing loss if you are having bouts of dizziness, hard time understanding certain portions of conversations, difficulty hearing higher pitched voices, hearing muffled or slurred speech from other people, or if you are experiencing ringing in the ears called tinnitus.

2. Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage or damage to the middle or outer area of the ear. When suffering from this type of hearing loss, there is a physical condition or a disease that impedes sounds from being conducted from the outer or middle ear into the inner ear for processing of sounds to the brain. Depending on the cause, it may be temporary or permanent.

Hearing loss on an affected outer ear can result from impacted wax, exostoses (or new bones growing on the surface of a bone), swimmer’s ear, foreign elements in the ear, or narrowing or hardening of the ear canal. As for an affected middle ear, it may be a result of otitis media, tumours or other abnormal growths in the middle ear, breakage in connections of the bones in the middle ear, or a compromised eardrum. This is more common in children and people in indigenous areas.

3. Mixed Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is a combination of the two aforementioned conditions. Mixed hearing loss is caused by a combination of sensorineural damage in the inner ear and conductive damage in the middle or outer ear. Symptoms may vary depending on the degree of each type of hearing loss. The most apparent sign is the inability to hear sounds clearly. If the condition is mostly conductive, conversations may still appear understandable if the sound is loud enough and not coupled by a background noise. If the condition is mostly sensorineural, one will have a hard time understanding speech even though conversations are loud enough.

Each type of hearing loss requires a specific approach for its treatment. It’s important that you understand what kind of hearing loss you have in order to get the right medication and prescriptions. If you notice any of these symptoms in you or you loved ones, please don’t hesitate to contact us at +65 6817 5100 or visit us at Lot 218 A, 2nd Floor. The Curve, 6, Jalan PJU 7/3, Mutiara Damansara, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.