Hearing Care Specialists - Hopkins, Glencoe, and Watertown, MN

There are a few distinct types of hearing loss, determined by which section of the auditory is impaired. In this short article we supply a summary of five different types – sensorineural, conductive, mixed, functional and central. Certain forms of hearing loss are more treatable than other types, and we will be able to explain your choices after an examination.

Conductive hearing loss

When sound waves are not sufficiently conducted to the inner ear through the structures of the outer and middle ear, conductive hearing loss occurs. Conductive hearing loss is very common and can be due to an accumulation of ear wax, a buildup of fluid in the eustacian tube, which keeps the eardrum from moving, a middle ear infection, a perforated eardrum, disease of the tiny bones of the middle ear or obstructions in the ear canal.

Most cases of conductive hearing loss are reversible, presuming there isn’t any irreversible damage to the regions of the middle ear, and with treatment the issue usually clears up in a short amount of time. In some cases surgery can assist in correcting the condition or a hearing aid may be recommended.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is responsible for over 90% of the cases in which a hearing aid is used. It is the result of damage in the interior of the ear or to the acoustic nerve, which keeps sound signals from reaching the brain. Also known as nerve deafness or retrocochlear hearing loss, the impairment is generally speaking permanent, though breakthroughs in technology have allowed some formerly untreatable cases to see some improvement.

The most frequent causes of sensorineural hearing loss are aging, prolonged exposure to noise, complications with blood flow to the interior of the ear, fluid disturbance in the inner ear, drugs that cause damage to the ear, a small number of diseases, genetics and issues with the auditory nerve.

Hearing aids are satisfactory for the majority of people who have this sort of hearing loss, but in more serious cases, a cochlear implant can help bring back hearing to those for whom a conventional hearing aid is not enough.

Central hearing loss

Central hearing loss arises in situations where a problem in the central nervous system prevents sound signals from being processed by the brain. The person affected can seemingly hear perfectly well, but cannot understand or decipher what is being said. Numerous cases involve a problem with the individual’s capacity to adequately filter competing sounds. For instance, the majority of us can have a conversation while there is street traffic in the background, but individuals with central hearing loss have a really hard time with this.

Mixed hearing loss

As suggested by the term, mixed hearing loss is a mixture of different types of hearing loss – conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Although there are a couple of other types of hearing loss, the combination of these two is most common.

Functional hearing loss

A rare occurrence, functional hearing loss is not physical. This condition is due to psychological or emotional problem in which the person’s physical ability to hear is normal, however they are not able to hear.

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