Types of Hearing Loss

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What Causes Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is often temporary and can often be corrected. Conductive loss stems from problems of the outer or middle ear and can be caused by:

Punctured eardrum This type of hearing loss can be treated with wax removal, medicine or surgery.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. In fact, it accounts for 90% of all adult hearing problems and is caused by aging and noise. With sensorineural loss:

  • There are problems with the cochlea and the auditory nerve.
  • Sounds not only diminish in volume, but become distorted.
  • High frequency sounds and some spoken words are first to go.
  • Low frequency sounds, such as vowels, are heard better.

This type of hearing loss can be treated with amplification (hearing instruments) and, occasionally, surgery. For more information about surgical procedures, consult a physician.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a hearing loss where both conductive and sensorineural losses occur at the same time.

Temporary Hearing Loss

There are times where hearing loss is temporary. If you have trouble hearing clearly, don't worry. You might not have a permanent hearing loss at all. Temporary hearing loss is common and can be caused by any of the following:

  • Too much earwax
  • Sinus problems
  • Allergies

Hearing Loss Definitions:

Otosclerosis – Abnormal bone development in the middle ear, resulting in progressive hearing loss.

Cochlea – A spiral-shaped tubular structure resembling a snail's shell that forms part of the inner ear.

Auditory nerve – Bundle of nerve fibers that carries hearing information between the cochlea and the brain.

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