If you or a loved one experience symptoms of hearing loss, you may believe it’s simply a result of age – or one too many rock concerts. While it’s true that these are some common causes of hearing loss, there are actually four different types of hearing loss recognized by audiologists, all with their own unique symptoms:
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Conductive hearing loss
- Mixed hearing loss
- Central hearing loss
At Connect Hearing, our experts deal daily with patients who exhibit one or more of these types of hearing loss. The good news is that the majority of their issues can be remedied with hearing aids.
Read below to learn more about these different types of hearing loss, as well as their symptoms and treatments.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural (sen-sor-ee-nuh-ral) hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. It occurs due to damage to cells or nerve fibers in the cochlea, or inner ear. Excessive or sustained trauma to the ear can cause sensorineural hearing loss at any age, though it most often occurs due to aging and is known then as Presbyacusis. While there is no way to cure sensorineural hearing loss, it is regularly treated with hearing aids with great success, particularly when treated before the loss worsens.
Symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss may include:
- Muffled sounds and speech
- Ringing in the ears (also known as tinnitus)
- Trouble understanding speech due to background noise
Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss may report:
- Muffled sounds and speech
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble understanding speech in background noise
Conductive Hearing Loss
In conductive hearing loss, there is a problem in the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear that prevents sound from being conducted to the inner ear. Problems might include outer or middle ear infections, a perforated eardrum, or a large earwax blockage. Often, this results in an inability to hear low sound levels. Depending on the cause, this type of hearing loss may only be temporary. It can be repaired medically or surgically, and is regularly treated with hearing aids, including bone-anchored and bone conduction hearing aids.
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss may include:
- Muffled sounds
- Overly quiet sounds
Mixed Hearing Loss
As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Specifically, mixed hearing loss is caused by damage present to the outer, middle and inner ear or auditory nerve. Because it is a combination of the above two types of hearing loss, this also means some medical or surgical steps can be taken to reduce the severity of this hearing loss, but, unfortunately, it cannot be completely cured. Hearing aids are an effective tool here as well, and when paired with surgery can typically restore the remaining portion of hearing loss.
Central Hearing Loss
The fourth and final type of hearing loss is central hearing loss. Here, sound is successfully transferred to the brain, but cannot be processed correctly due to problems in the brain. Patients with central hearing loss may still react to certain environmental sounds, which often leads to misdiagnosis. This extremely rare type of hearing loss is present from birth and cannot be treated with hearing aids.
Connect Hearing Can Answer Your Hearing Loss Questions
At Connect Hearing, we understand that everyone’s hearing loss issues are unique, and our experienced audiologists will work with you to help you determine the specific problems you’re facing and the steps you should take to tackle them. Using the most advanced hearing technology available, we can help to put you back in touch with sound.