There are many ways that an onset of hearing loss can be triggered in someone’s ear, including deterioration with age, exposure to loud noises and ear infections. There are three main types of hearing loss, each of which is caused by different factors and require their own specialised treatment.
Hearing loss can be a traumatic experience, which means that you should always seek help from a qualified professional if you suspect an onset of hearing loss. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at these three types of hearing loss, as well as their common causes and general treatment.
Types of hearing loss and how to treat them
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of loss in adults. It is a permanent loss of hearing that is caused by irreversible damage to the hair cells in your cochlea or your auditory nerve. Causes of sensorineural hearing loss includes age-related deterioration, noise-induced hearing loss, ototoxic medication, or trauma.
It is most likely that should you experience sensorineural hearing loss, you won’t be able to reverse it. The good news is that this type of hearing loss can still be successfully managed with the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Conductive hearing loss
Not as common as sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss is a result of an obstruction or damage to the middle/outer ear that prevents sounds from travelling through your ear. This type of hearing loss is more prevalent in children.
Conductive hearing loss can be temporary or permanent depending on the cause. There are a few things that can result in this type of hearing loss, including wax occlusion, ear infections, perforations, eustachian tube dysfunction and otosclerosis.
Treatment for this type of hearing loss depends on the cause. In some cases the solution is quite simple and in other cases it could be more complex requiring a possible operation. In most cases it is however possible to regain some or most of your hearing back. Here are a few of the treatments offered for conductive hearing loss:
- Removal of wax occlusion or foreign objects from the ear canal.
- Medical management of ear infections or eustachian tube dysfunction addressed by a general practitioner or ear-, nose- and throat specialist.
- Abnormal growths or otosclerosis might require imaging such as an MRI before management options can be discussed.
- Perforations usually heal withing a few weeks but sometimes a tympanoplasty might be necessary should the perforation not heal naturally.
- Bone-anchored hearing devices (BAHA’s) are used in cases where outer or middle ear malformations are present.
Mixed hearing loss
Sometimes, people become unfortunate victims of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This can happen to anyone; for example, your sensorineural hearing loss may be compounded by wax impaction or a terrible ear infection. Treating mixed hearing loss should only be done on a case-by-case basis, where a qualified professional recommends treatment specific to your situation. In most cases treatment or management of a mixed hearing loss requires more than one method of treatment.
If you’d like to learn more about the different types and levels of hearing or hearing loss, please don’t hesitate to contact your nearest audiologist. You may also get in touch with us – we look forward to hearing about how we can help you.