Hearing Loss Types and the Methods for Treating Them

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October 24, 2017

Hearing Loss Types and the Methods for Treating Them

Types of Hearing Loss

All hearing loss is unique in its acquisition and method of treatment. An ear doctor can accurately diagnose your hearing loss and provide the best care according to the diagnosis. The major types of hearing loss include conductive, sensorineural, mixed, presbycusis, and noise-induced.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This kind of hearing loss is the product of something stopping sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear. Conductive hearing loss results in sounds presenting faint or muffled. Wax build-up, infection, head trauma, and ear surgery are all possible causes of conductive hearing loss. Treatment for conductive hearing loss can include:

  • Physical removal of obstruction
  • Surgery
  • Hearing aids
  • Draining fluids
  • Removal of ear wax
  • Antibiotics and ear drops

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

As its name suggests, sensorineural hearing loss involves problems with the manner in which the inner ear or the hearing nerve works. There are two major types of sensorineural hearing loss: congenital and acquired sensorineural hearing loss.

Congenital Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of sensorineural hearing loss occurs during pregnancy. Common causes include:

  • Prematurity
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • Genetics
  • Diseases passed from mother to child

Acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The other type of sensorineural hearing loss occurs after delivery and includes the following causes:

  • Aging
  • Noise
  • Disease and infections
  • Head trauma
  • Tumors
  • Medications

Treatment for Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Treatment depends on the specific type of sensorineural hearing loss. Depending on the circumstances this can include medical therapy, surgery, corticosteroids, and cochlear implants.

 

Mixed Hearing Loss

If a hearing loss is a combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss it is known as a mixed hearing loss. As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss combines damage to the outer and middle ear’s ability to conduct sound and damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve. It is recommended to address the conductive component of mixed hearing loss first as it can be treated medically with a hearing aid.

Presbycusis

The age-related hearing loss that usually occurs in both ears. Mumbled speech, difficulty understanding conversations, and tinnitus are signs of this condition. Continuous exposure to loud noise, damage to hair cells, health conditions, and aging may all contribute to this hearing loss. Treatment for presbycusis includes:

  • Hearing aids
  • Speech to text technology
  • Training in speechreading
  • Prevention of excessive ear wax

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is due to noise exposure and can occur in people of any age. One-third of the 30 million Americans with hearing loss can at least partially attribute it to noise exposure. Of course, the best treatment for noise-induced hearing loss is avoidance of loud noise. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides helpful guidelines to educate you regarding noise exposure.

Please remember that hearing loss is unique to the individual as is the method for treating it. Examinations, testing, and medical history assist your healthcare provider in choosing the best treatment option for your hearing needs. So if you have difficulty hearing, do not hesitate to seek treatment today.

 

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