There are a few different types of hearing loss, based on which portion of the auditory system has been impaired. In this short article we offer an introduction to 5 different types – conductive, sensorineural, central, functional and mixed. The starting point in developing a therapy plan is to properly identify the kind of hearing impairment.
Conductive hearing loss – When sound waves aren’t properly conducted to the inner ear through the parts of the outer and middle ear, conductive hearing loss arises. This is very widespread and could be due to a buildup of ear wax, a buildup of fluid in the eustacian tube, which prevents the eardrum from moving properly, a middle ear infection, a perforated eardrum, disease of the bones of the middle ear or obstructions in the ear canal.
Most instances of this type of hearing loss are reversible, presuming there is no irreversible damage to the regions of the middle ear, and with proper treatment the issue usually resolves fairly quickly. In some instances surgery can assist in correcting the issue or a hearing aid may be fitted.
Sensorineural hearing loss – This type of hearing loss accounts for more than 90 percent of the situations in which a hearing aid is used. It is due to damage in the inner ear or to the acoustic nerve, which keeps sound signals from reaching the brain. Also referred to as nerve deafness or retrocochlear hearing loss, the damage is for the most part irreversible, although advancements in modern technology have made it possible for some previously untreatable cases to see some improvement.
The most frequent reasons behind sensorineural hearing loss are the aging process, extended exposure to noise, problems with circulation of blood to the inner ear, fluid disturbance in the inner ear, medicines that cause injury to the ear, some diseases, genetics and issues with the auditory nerve.
Hearing aids are adequate for most people who have this sort of hearing loss, but in more severe cases, a cochlear implant may help bring back hearing to those for whom a conventional hearing aid is not enough.
Central hearing loss – This condition arises in situations where a problem in the central nervous system prevents sound signals from being processed by the brain. Affected individuals can seemingly hear just fine, but can’t understand or interpret what is being said. Numerous cases involve a problem with the individual’s ability to properly filter rival sounds. For example, the majority of us can hold a conversation with street traffic in the background, but people with this problem have a really hard time with this.
Functional hearing loss – An infrequent situation, this type of hearing loss is not physical. Functional hearing loss is due to an emotional or psychological problem in which the person’s physical hearing is found to be normal, but they are not able to hear.Mixed hearing loss – As the term suggests, mixed hearing loss is a blend of different types of hearing loss – conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Although there are a few other kinds of hearing loss, the combination of these 2 is most frequent.