To some, it may be confusing getting to the bottom of what may be causing one’s hearing loss. However, most people don’t know that there are four main types of hearing loss all with different sources causing hearing deficiencies. Each types of hearing loss calls for different treatment alternatives as well.
1. Conductive Hearing Loss
There are three parts that make up the ear – inner, middle, and outer. When sounds cannot pass through the middle or outer ear that is considered conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can be caused by numerous factors such as:
- Ear infection
- Abnormal formation of the middle or outer ear
- Fluid in your middle ear
- A hole in your eardrum
- An object stuck in your outer ear
- Benign tumors
- Poor eustachian tube function
- Earwax build up in your ear canal
Conductive hearing loss has treatments based on each one of these determinants. The types of treatment options vary from surgery to hearing aids to simply removing the wax compacted in your ear.
2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
SNHL, for short, is caused when there are issues between the nerve pathways that connect from your inner ear to your brain. It’s also caused after damage happens within the inner ear. Having trouble within your inner ear may cause soft sounds to be hard to hear, loud sounds might also become unclear and appear muffled. There are various causes to this type of hearing loss such as:
- Abnormal formation within the inner ear
- Listening to loud noises
- A heavy impact to the head
- Toxic drugs to hearing
- Genetic hearing loss
Treatments for SNHL can range from hearing aids to cochlear implants. Remember, you cannot gain back any hearing you have already lost, but the treatment options available are to help hearing in everyday life.
3. Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss occurs when both SNHL and conductive hearing loss exist at the same time. SNHL is usually the permanent condition, while the conductive hearing loss could be temporary or permanent. The result of mixed hearing loss is when there’s a problem with sound going through the inner, middle, and outer ear. Depending on what’s causing each type of hearing loss is what determines the best treatment option.
4. Auditory Processing Disorder
This type of hearing loss is primarily focused on complications within the brain. Auditory processing disorder (ADP) happens when the brain struggles to process sound information, such as trying to figure out where certain sounds are coming from and understanding speech in general. ADP is prevalent normally in young children, however just because a child may have difficulty understanding others, does not mean ADP is present. A child must be professionally diagnosed to determine whether they do or do not have ADP. Regarding treatment of ADP, there is no definitive treatment. Every case is individualized as should the treatment be as well.
So, as you can see, hearing loss can be caused by a multitude of things and can call for very complex reasoning behind it. Treatments vary by each type and further by each cause. If you’re experiencing hearing loss of any kind, come in and speak to our audiologist today! Let us help you find the perfect solution!