Hearing loss is more common than you may think. One in five Americans has some degree of hearing loss. For those over the age of 65, that figure increases to one in three people. In order to best treat hearing loss, we must first understand it. Here’s everything you need to know about hearing loss.
Types of hearing loss
There are two main types of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This is the most common form of hearing loss that we see here at our clinic, and unfortunately it also happens to be the most destructive to overall health.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear in the cochlea, the hair cells or the hearing nerve. It effectively prevents hair cells from capturing sound vibrations, leading to incomplete sound signals being sent to the brain for processing, and the inability for the individual to comprehend everything that the speaker said.
There are two main causes of sensorineural hearing loss:
Treatment for sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs slowly, meaning that people might not immediately notice these changes in their ability to listen. This might explain why the average person will wait seven years from the time they begin experiencing the symptoms of hearing loss to the time they decide to seek treatment.
It is also usually a permanent condition. No surgery or medication currently exists to treat it. Because this lost hearing can never be restored, hearing aids are often used to improve the ability to hear. Nearly all sensorineural hearing losses can be improved through the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Conductive Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss is caused by damage to the external and/or middle ear that creates a physical barrier which stops sound from entering.
Conductive hearing loss can be caused by many different reasons. The most common causes are the build-up of ear fluid and excessive earwax, which both lead to blockages and prevent sound going into the inner ear to be picked up by hair cells.
Treatment for conductive hearing loss
Fortunately, this is usually a temporary hearing loss. Options for therapy usually include medical intervention to deal with the specific cause of the blockage. If the blockage is not cleared through surgery or non-surgical procedure, other options like hearing aids or cochlear implants will have to be used instead.
Signs of Hearing Loss
These are common signs of hearing loss according to The Better Hearing Institute:
If any of the above statements make you say “yes, that’s me”, then chances are you have some amount of hearing loss. Unfortunately, only about 20% of those who need hearing aids are admitting they need help. Treating hearing loss early however will dramatically improve your social, emotional and physical well-being.
For more information about how you can diagnose and treat your hearing loss, contact us today.