Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects an estimated 48 million people in San Diego and throughout the country. There are many different causes, which translates to different types of hearing loss. An understanding of the cause and type of hearing loss is essential in developing a successful treatment plan.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three main types of hearing loss. They are:
1. Conductive Hearing Loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there are problems with the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear. There are a variety of causes including:
- Structural deformities
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Ear infection
- Impacted earwax
- Perforated eardrum
- Foreign objects in the ear
- Benign tumors
Conductive hearing loss may be correctable with surgery or medication.
2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Sensorineural hearing loss involves problems with the inner ear and is sometimes referred to as “nerve deafness.” Causes include:
- Noise exposure
- Autoimmune disorders
- Meniere’s disease
- Malformations of the inner ear and tumors
Treatment for sensorineural hearing loss usually requires hearing aids.
3. Mixed Hearing Loss. This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss and affects both the inner ear and middle or outer ear. Treatment options depend on the exact cause and may include a combination of medications, surgery and hearing aids.
In addition to the different types of hearing loss, it is important to consider the extent to which you are experiencing symptoms. Hearing loss is additionally categorized as being either monaural or binaural.
Unilateral hearing loss (sometimes referred to as single-sided deafness) affects one ear only, while bilateral hearing loss affects both ears. Those with unilateral hearing loss have normal hearing in one ear and impaired hearing in the other; they have difficulty hearing on one side and localizing sound. This type of hearing loss is usually associated with conductive causes. Those with bilateral hearing loss have impaired hearing in both ears. The condition is most often treated with hearing aids (two are more effective than one) or cochlear implants.
As you can see, your San Diego audiologist has to do more than simply confirm if you do or do not have hearing loss. All of this information is crucial to creating a customized treatment plan. For more information on types of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment, contact your local audiologist today.