Overview of Different Types of Hearing Loss, Causes and Treatments

Hearing loss is characterized by the inability to hear sounds coming from the environment. Studies say that 1 in 10 people are affected by hearing loss of …

Hearing loss is characterized by the inability to hear sounds coming from the environment. Studies say that 1 in 10 people are affected by hearing loss of different degrees.  The degree of hearing loss means the extent of damage.  It can range from mild to profound, and can be helped by the use of devices designed to enhance a person’s ability to hear.

Hearing Loss Types:

When the bones of the middle ear, the incus, malleus, and stapes (the smallest bones in the body) do not receive sound from the external ear, this is called Conductive Hearing Loss.  This results in the inability to hear faint sounds.

Damage to the inner ear, namely the cochlea, results in permanent hearing loss. This is called Sensorineural Hearing Loss.  The cochlea contains the auditory nerve that sends electrical impulses to the brain.  Damage to this nerve prevents impulses from reaching the brain for interpretation.

A combination of the two above hearing deficits is called Mixed Hearing Loss, and is due damage of the outer, middle, and inner ear.

When there is an abnormality in the brain, such as a brain tumor, or a non-malignant tumor in the auditory canal, That causes sound to not be sent to the brain, it is called Central Hearing Loss.

There is also unilateral loss of hearing, meaning that hearing deficit is located in just one ear.

How Hearing Is Lost?

There are a variety of reasons that causes one to not hear sounds.  These causes of hearing loss include:

Loud sudden noises, such as an explosion or airbag deployment Family history (Genetics) Repeated ear infections Chronic illness such as diabetes Puncture of the eardrum Excessive Ear wax Blockages such as ear wax, fluid, or mechanical obstruction Lesions (tumors) Trauma to the head Viruses Constant exposure to loud noises

Hearing loss is measured in degrees or severity and is diagnosed by a series of hearing tests which tells the type, degree, and location of the hearing deficit.

There are several testing procedures performed by your health care provider to determine hearing loss and the extent of damage.  These tests include:

Weber’s test utilizes the tuning fork Rinne test – compares air and bone conduction Audiogram – measures hearing levels Speech testing

Treatment:

Treatment of any existing disease Hearing aid Surgery

What are the Surgical procedures for Hearing Loss:

Myringotomy:  A small incision is made in the ear drum and a tiny tube is inserted to drain the the ear of a build up of fluid.

Stapedectomy: Surgical manipulation of the stapes bone or complete replacement is performed.

Tympanoplasty and Mastoid surgery:  Reconstructs of the ear drum, and the removal of the mastoid bone and any disease it contains.

Translabyrinthine surgery: Is the removal of acoustic neuromas (tumors).

Middle Fossa and Retrosigmoid: Is the removal of small tumors

If you believe you have some type of hearing loss, consulting with a hearing professional for testing, diagnosis, and treatment will help you begin hearing the sounds coming from your environment again, and participating in the activities you enjoy.