Types of Hearing Loss
The ear is one of the sense organs in the human body. When it’s faulty or not functioning the way it should, then it calls for attention to prevent further damages. Hearing loss is one of the medical conditions that affect the ear. Hearing loss can be classified into three types; sensorineural, conducive and mixed hearing loss. The three types of hearing loss will be discussed briefly in this article; the possible causes as well as the symptoms will be discussed.
According to medical reports, the sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type. This is a permanent type of hearing loss that is characterized by the damage of the auditory nerve or the cells of the inner ear. People with this type of hearing loss have difficulty hearing because the faulty auditory nerve or inner ear weakens or prevent the transfer of sound signals to the brain which is aided by nerve signals sent to the brain.
The probable causes of sensorineural hearing loss can include the direct transfer of infection from mother to child when pregnant or a genetic syndrome for cases that started from birth, some of the infections include herpes, toxoplasmosis or rubella. While for conditions that starts later in life can as a result of the following causes; traumatic injuries, diseases that affects the blood vessels, cancerous growth in the inner ear, auto-immune diseases, exposure to too much loud noise that last for extended time, presbycusis(age deterioration), meniere disease and several others.
People treating sensorineural hearing loss can actually hear when people are talking, however, they have difficulty hearing them clearly, which happens to be one of the symptoms of the ear problem. Other symptoms of the condition include consistent buzzing or ringing on the ear, difficulty listening in a noisy surrounding, inability to hear certain speech sounds, feeling dizzy or off-balance, noises may sound too quiet or too loud and mumbled and slurred speeches of others especially children and women, these are some of the common signs of a sensorineural hearing loss.
The treatment options of sensorineural hearing loss may be the use of assistive hearing aids, or cochlear implants since a damaged auditory nerve or cells of the inner ear cannot be repaired by any surgical or medical procedure. The hearing aid to be used depends on the severity of the condition.
This type of hearing loss can be permanent or temporary depending on the cause. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the middle or outer ear that prevents the passage of sound to the inner ear. It can also occur when there is an obstruction that prevents the inner ear from getting sound. Since conductive hearing loss affect the combination of the outer and middle ear, the cause are separated by the part of the ear it affects.
The causes of conductive hearing loss if it’s the outer ear include; wax impaction, obstructions caused by the insertion of foreign bodies into the ear, blockages caused by a bone-like protrusions that developed inside the ear canal(Exostoses), stenosis (the narrowing of the ear canal) and otitis externa.
The causes when it affects the middle ear include; otosclerosis, obstruction or blockage of the Eustachian tube, a breach in the tympanic membrane which can be caused by ear infections, rapid changes in air pressure and injury. Others include discontinuity between the bones of the middle ear which can be as a result of heavy trauma or injury, the build-up of fluid in the middle ear, glomus tumors or cholesteatoma and the freezing of the middle ear bones.
Individuals treating conductive hearing loss have difficulty with sound loudness, they can hear sound clearly when it is loud. Some of the signs and symptoms of this hearing issue include difficulty in phone conversation, pain in both or one ear, foul smell coming from the ear canal and feeling of pressure in one or both ears.
The treatment options of conductive hearing loss is determined by the cause, for condition caused by infections, abnormal growth, wax impaction and the presence of foreign objects, medical process like extraction of earwax and other surgical procedures can be used to correct it. While other causes of the hearing loss can be considered a permanent issue that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical procedures.
The last time of hearing loss is known as Mixed hearing loss, which is the combination of both the sensorineural and conductive hearing losses. This type of hearing loss can happen over time and can also be caused by trauma. It usually occurs when one hearing loss is compounded by the other. The symptoms of mixed hearing loss are the combination of the symptoms of both the sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
The treatment for mixed hearing loss can be determined by the severity of the condition, if it is more conductive or sensorineural. If the bigger part of the condition is characterized by conductive loss, medical and surgical processes can be used to correct it, however, if it is the other way round, then implants and hearing aids can be used to correct it.
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