Many people can answer yes to at least one question. If you answered yes to two or more, it is time for a more thorough evaluation of your hearing abilities and options available to you. Give us a call so we can help you!
Hearing Loss Quiz
Types of hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss (or nerve hearing loss) involves damage to the inner ear hair cells or the nerve pathway between the ear and the brain. This type of hearing loss is permanent and cannot be fixed with medication or surgery, but hearing aids are a good option for many people. This is the most common type of hearing loss in adults. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is common with this type of hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss involves a decrease of sound transmitted to the inner ear due to a problem or blockage within the outer or middle ear. Sometimes, this type of hearing loss may be medically treated by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist. Because of this, people with this type of hearing loss need medical clearance from a physician before being fit with hearing aids.
Mixed hearing loss is due to a problem in the middle ear and the inner ear, concurrently. This means there is permanent hearing loss that is also being decreased due to a problem in the middle ear. Individuals with this type of hearing loss also need medical clearance before being fit with hearing aids.
What causes hearing loss?
There are many causes of hearing loss.
For most people, the cause of the hearing loss is damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea). Two factors that may contribute to this damage are cumulative exposure to loud sounds and/or aging. Over time these tiny hair cells become damaged disrupting the signal that is sent to the brain. Hearing aids make those signals louder and give the brain a better signal to interpret.
For both causes of hearing loss, higher pitches are typically affected first causing most people difficulty listening in background noise and missing clarity of speech. Ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears is common with these causes of hearing loss and some individuals can get some relief in the ringing by using hearing aids.
Other causes of hearing loss are a build-up of wax in the ear canal, hearing loss caused by specific medications, fluid or infection in the ear, hearing loss inherited from birth, rupture of the ear drum, and abnormal bone growth in the outer or middle ear.
The ear is comprised of three parts: Outer Ear, Middle Ear, and Inner Ear.
The Outer Ear funnels sound into the ear and is comprised of the cartilage portion (pinna) and ear canal. The sound then travels to the Middle Ear, which is separated from the outer ear by the eardrum. In the middle ear there are three small bones (ossicles) that assist in transferring sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. The Inner Ear is also called the cochlea. This is the important organ for hearing. Within the cochlea are tiny hair cells that move when sound interacts with them ultimately sending the signal to the brain. When hearing loss occurs due to aging or noise, it is likely these tiny hair cells are damaged and the signal that is sent to the brain is no longer clear.
How we hear
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