General types of hearing loss can be described as congenital (hereditary) or acquired. A congenital hearing loss is one that is present at, or soon after, birth. An acquired hearing loss is one that occurs later on in life such as work environment, other nosier places, activities or from other medical conditions. Depending on which part of the hearing system is affected, hearing loss is categorized as conductive, sensorineural or a mixture of both.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive which can range from mild to moderate in severity, most can be treated medically, and in many cases can be corrected entirely. Occurs when conduction of sound through the outer ear or middle ear is disrupted. Some examples include excessive earwax in the ear canal, a hole in the eardrum, fluid buildup behind the eardrum and middle ear infection. Degree of a conductive hearing loss varies, but you cannot go completely deaf. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated by medical or surgical means.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Most hearing losses are sensorineural, commonly caused by damage to the inner hair cells. Originating in the inner ear referred to as sensorineural hearing loss or “nerve loss”. Sensorineural hearing loss most often occurs from genetic factors such as family inheritance, excessive noise exposure, medical conditions, or changes in the inner ear due to the natural aging process. This results in a loss of loudness as well as a lack of clarity. There is rarely any medical treatment, so it is permanent and hearing devices are often recommended.
Mixed hearing loss occurs because it is a combination of conductive and sensorineural components. An example of a mixed hearing loss may be someone with inner ear hair cell damage due to noise damage who at the same time has an ear infection which is stopping the eardrum from functioning normally. The conductive portion of a mixed hearing loss can often be medically treated, but even after successful treatment there will still be an underlying sensorineural hearing loss which is permanent and may need amplification (hearing aid) depending on the level of severity.
Untreated hearing loss is a real problem with real consequences for all involved not just the individual.
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Reduced potential
- Family and social withdrawal and more
With the latest advances in hearing aid technology, today most forms of hearing loss can be successfully treated.
- Only 20% of people who could benefits from a hearing aid wears one
- Millions have suffered noise-induced hearing loss due to work related noise
- Hearing decline can start before the age of 40 years of age
- Many people with hearing loss are below retirement age
- Most people with hearing loss can improve there communication with a properly fitted hearing aid and counselling.
Communication in life is critical, your job, with family and all social interactions are all more rewarding when you can communicate effectively – and hearing aids can help to that. Individuals who get hearing aids benefit from:
- Less instances of confusion or misunderstanding
- Increased ability to concentrate
- Better memory skills
- Alertness and awareness of ones personal safety
- More control over ones life