A guest post by Hearlink
As we’ve seen in the Better Caring story, the best way to understand where we’re going is to understand where we’ve come from. For Hearlink and the audiology community in general, that journey has been an ongoing one. The limited capabilities that general doctors once had to treat hearing loss have evolved into a growing body of research. Perfect example? Once upon a time we thought that all hearing loss was the same—it was characterized by the same symptoms so treated the exact same way. Thanks to time, hard work and science—we now know that’s not the case. We take a look at three different types of hearing loss:
Conductive hearing loss
When you have a conversation or listen to someone speak, their words pass first through your outer ear, into your middle ear and finally your inner ear. When there’s a disconnect between the three parts of the ear, you most likely have conductive hearing loss. This is quite common and easily caused by infections of the ear, a buildup of ear wax or fluid, punctured eardrums or abnormal bone growth. Conductive hearing loss is most prevalent in indigenous countries and younger patients. It can be treated through surgery and technologies like middle ear implants and bone anchored hearing aids.
Sensorineural hearing loss
You have one main hearing organ—the cochlea, which serves as the hub for much of the activity in your ears. If the cochlea and/or your auditory nerves suffer any sort of damage, you may have sensorineural hearing loss. Your cochlea and your auditory nerves communicate to each other so that your brain receives the accurate information whenever you process sound or noise—so they’re necessary parts of the operation. This type of hearing loss is 100% permanent. It’s frequently brought on by the genetics of your family, as well as natural aging processes. You can also contract sensorineural hearing loss if you’re frequently exposed to loud levels of noise like at your place of work. Technologies are quickly advancing to be able to assist with preventing sensorineural hearing loss. Right now, audiologists recommend exploring cochlear implants and hearing aids to help lessen the effects.
Mixed hearing loss
When you combine conductive and sensorineural hearing loss you get mixed hearing loss. While sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, conductive hearing loss can either be temporary or potentially permanent. You may be thinking, how can you possibly have both? It can happen if you’re dealing with age-related hearing loss like Presbycusis as well as an ear infection.
These are just three of the different types of hearing loss, but they’re three of the most common. We recommend getting your hearing checked regularly by your general doctor or an audiology specialist.
Hearlink is a hearing clinic in the Melbourne and Geelong area with a team of specialists including audiologists and audiometrists. Check out Hearlink’s site for more scientific findings and industry information.