Different Types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is a condition characterized by the absence or damage of the delicate hair-like cells in the cochlea or auditory nerve. This results in the transmission of weak nerve signals to the brain, leading to hearing impairment. Several factors can contribute to sensorineural hearing loss, including exposure to loud noise, illnesses, genetics, aging, head trauma, a malformation of the inner ear, and the use of ototoxic drugs.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is unable to reach the inner ear due to issues with the outer or middle ear. Fortunately, the majority of cases of conductive hearing loss can be effectively treated with medication or surgery. For those who are not suitable candidates for these methods, hearing aids can provide significant benefits. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include middle ear fluid, ear infections, allergies, perforated eardrums, impacted cerumen (earwax), benign tumors, swimmer's ear, and foreign objects lodged in the ear.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss refers to a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss in the same individual. This occurs when there is damage to both the outer or middle ear and the inner ear or auditory nerve. While conductive hearing loss can sometimes be reversible with appropriate treatment, sensorineural hearing loss is typically permanent. Trauma or injury to the ear is the most common cause of mixed hearing loss, although it can also result from a combination of factors.
Auditory Processing Disorders
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is not a type of hearing impairment but rather a condition that affects an individual's ability to process, organize, or interpret auditory information. While the exact underlying cause of APD is often uncertain, it can be linked to injuries, illnesses, tumors, or genetics in some cases. The symptoms of APD may resemble those of hearing loss, but effective management requires separate treatments to address the specific challenges associated with auditory processing.