Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or muffled.
The majority of hearing difficulties result from damage to the inner ear, referred to as Sensorineural or Nerve Hearing Losses. Power tools, factories, guns, lawn mowers, hair dryers, MP3 players, surround sound and freeways are just a few ways in which we are slowly and imperceptibly eroding our hearing, lessening the sharpness and reducing the clarity of the spoken word. In addition, there are genetic factors, illnesses, and medications which can also affect our ability to hear the world around us. These problems are typically permanent in nature and do not respond to medical or surgical intervention. In time because of these difficulties, those with hearing loss often begin to withdraw from social gatherings and experience a wide variety of negative social and emotional consequences.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not trasmitted through the outer ear and middle ear efficiently. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in the ability to hear faint sounds. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically.

Problems effecting the Outer or Middle ear are referred to as conductive hearing losses. This hearing loss affects a person’s ability to conduct sound to the inner ear. These losses are common in children who suffer from ear infections, but can also be caused by a range of adult problems from simple ear wax to congenital malformations and calcium growths (also known as otosclerosis). Hearing losses of this nature are often temporary and may be medically and/or surgically treatable. This type of hearing loss represents 5-10% of our nation's hearing difficulties.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear AND in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed hearing loss. Mixed hearing loss is the combination of both conductive and sensorineural types of hearing loss.
This type of hearing loss ranges in severity from mild to profound. For people with mixed hearing loss, sounds can be both softer in volume and more difficult to understand. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

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