Hearing loss can affect anyone and is a fairly common condition. Causes of hearing loss are varied and may be due to disease or medical conditions, genetics, excessive noise exposure, age, ototoxic medications, or accidents/trauma.
It is encouraging to note, however, that hearing loss is most often very treatable. Hearing loss may be treated with hearing aids, medicine, or surgery and depends largely, on which part of the ear or hearing pathway is affected.
If the hearing loss is a result of a problem with the outer or middle ear it is classified as a conductive hearing loss. The outer ear includes the pinna and the ear canal. The middle ear is comprised of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and three ossicles (bones). Generally, this type of hearing loss may be treated with medicine or surgery by a physician, resulting in complete or partial restoration of hearing. Hearing aids are generally effective in treating the remaining hearing loss.
A sensorineural hearing loss is a result of any dysfunction of the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve. The inner ear is comprised of the cochlea and semicircular canals. Typically, a sensorineural hearing loss is permanent.
A mixed hearing loss is a sensorineural hearing loss with a conductive component. The conductive component of this hearing loss may be treatable with medicine or surgery, but the sensorineural component is permanent.
SOME COMMON SIGNS OF HEARING LOSS INCLUDE:
Untreated hearing loss can lead to stress, fatigue, educational difficulties and social isolation, all of which can affect one’s quality of life.