Hearing losses are often described as being either congenital or acquired; congenital losses are present at (or soon after) birth while acquired losses occur later on in life. It is dependent on the affected areas within the hearing system which determine how the hearing loss as categorized.
The main types of hearing losses include:
Conductive: Conductive losses can be caused by damage or blockages in the outer ear, middle ear or both. Typically affecting the loudness of sounds, a conductive loss interferes with the ability for sound to pass into the inner ear. The degree of hearing loss varies depending on the cause of the conductive loss; typically causes include wax blockages, abnormal bone growths, ear infections or from a perforated eardrum. Conductive losses can be treated by medical means (eg medication or surgical options) or with hearing technologies (eg bone conduction hearing aids).
Sensorineural: Sensorineural hearing losses are caused by damage or a malfunction within the cochlea (permanent hearing organ) or along the hearing nerve. This can be from natural wear-and-tear (aging/presbycusis), accidents, diseases, certain medications or excessive noise exposure. Almost always permanent, there is rarely any medical management for sensorineural losses aside from hearing devices like hearing aids, or cochlear implants.
Mixed: A mixed hearing loss is seen when there is a problem in both a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss present. Eg a conductive loss from an ear infection as well as a sensorineural loss from presbycusis.
Processing Disorders: Often present from early childhood, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) arise when the brain has difficulties recognizing and interpreting the meaning of sounds (eg speech).
If you haven't had your hearing tested in a while or have noticed a recent change, why not come in for a check-up. Routine assessments are strongly recommended for monitoring purposes regardless of your age; we can assess from 6 months of age up to adults. Contact the clinic to arrange an appointment today.