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Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is caused by problems in the ear canal and/or the structures in the middle ear. It occurs when sounds from the outside world cannot be transmitted normally through the ear canal and/or middle ear to the inner ear. Most conductive hearing losses can be medically or surgically treated. Our audiologists are supported by the experience and expertise of the ear-nose-and throat specialists of Otolaryngology Associates, should your hearing loss require medical or surgical solutions.

Symptoms of conductive hearing loss:

  • Ear pain or itching/irritation.
  • Low pitch tinnitus or buzzing
  • Ears feel “plugged”
  • History of ear infections
  • Hears better in noise

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. More than 90 percent of all hearing instrument wearers have sensorineural hearing loss, resulting from problems in the inner ear or the auditory nerve. Inner ear hair cell damage is the most common reason for sensorineural hearing loss. These tiny hair cells, once damaged or destroyed, become unable to convert sound vibrations into the electrical signals needed by the auditory nerve. Usually there is no medical way to correct this, but hearing devices often help.

Symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty understanding what people are saying, especially when there are competing voices or background noise. You may be able to hear someone speaking, but you cannot distinguish the specific words.
  • Listening to the television or radio at a higher volume than in the past.
  • Avoiding conversation and social interaction. Social situations can be tiring and stressful if you do not hear well. You may begin to avoid those situations as hearing becomes more difficult.
  • Hearing difficulty has been noticeable for some time, and has decreased gradually
  • Vertigo, which can occur with a hearing loss caused by Ménière’s disease, acoustic neuroma, or labyrinthitis.

Mixed Hearing Loss

This kind of hearing loss is caused by a combination of problems in the middle and the inner ear or the auditory nerve. The combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss is therefore, mixed.

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