TYPES OF HEARING LOSS

Hearing Health Foundation advises all who believe they may have hearing loss, tinnitus, and/or balance concerns to make an appointment with a hearing health professional, such as an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT).

A comprehensive evaluation will determine the types and severity of hearing loss present and assist hearing health professionals in making appropriate recommendations for hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices.

There are four types of hearing loss:

1. Conductive: Sound waves are not able to efficiently go through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the small bones of the middle ear. There is typically a reduction in sound levels or the ability to hear faint sounds. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically, and bone conduction hearing aids are available when medical or surgical correction are insufficient.
 
typesofhearingloss-01.jpg
 
2. Sensorineural: This is caused by damage to the hair cells or spiral ganglion neurons of cochlea in the inner ear, with the result that sound is not able to be converted into electrical signals for the auditory nerve to transmit to the brain. Treatments include amplification through hearing aids or cochlear implants.
 
typesofhearingloss-02.jpg
 
3. Combined (or mixed) Hearing Loss: This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. The conductive component may be able to be treated and reversed medically or surgically. However, the sensorineural component is often permanent. Hearing aids can be beneficial for persons with a mixed hearing loss, but if ear infections are a cause, additional attention is needed to ensure the successful use of hearing aids.
 
typesofhearingloss-03.jpg
 
4. Auditory Neuropathy: In this emerging type of hearing loss, sound is processed well by the inner ear but the transmission of signals from the inner ear to the brain is impaired. Those with auditory neuropathy, regardless of an underlying hearing loss, have trouble with speech perception or understanding speech clearly. Research is ongoing to better diagnose and define this type of hearing loss.
 
typesofhearingloss-05.jpg
 
 

FURTHER READING

Therapies for Hearing Loss: What Is Being Tested?

Drug delivery methods to the inner ear are being investigated. In addition to orally, delivery methods include a topical ear gel, intravenous infusion, and, most revolutionarily, direct injection of viruses to deliver genes to the inner ear.

A Guide for Preparing for Emergencies When You Have Hearing Loss

For people with hearing loss, emergencies can bring extra challenges and anxiety. When it comes to natural disasters and situations where your safety may be at stake, a predetermined action plan puts your loved ones at ease.

Hearing Loss Stigma?

So let’s lay the idea of the stigma of wearing hearing aids to rest once and for all. It’s life without the aids that brings limitations.

New Method Enables Systematic Study of Hair Cell Loss and Regeneration in Chickens

The study establishes a framework for the refined study of the two modes of hair cell regeneration in the chicken utricle. The next steps of the work will focus on understanding the exact timing and mechanism of coordination of the regeneration response.