Understanding Hearing Loss and Hearing Impairment

Most people will experience hearing loss in their lifetime. It is known that hearing loss, if left untreated, can lead to emotional and social significances, reduced job performance, and a condensed quality of life. Research has also shown that untreated hearing loss can also hinder with cognitive abilities because so much mental effort is focused toward understanding speech. Just as you would have annual vision screenings and dental checkups, it is important to make ear health an annual priority- especially once you hit age 50 to help prevent serious medical issues. The professionals at Sailfish Hearing Center know how important hearing is to your overall health and quality of life. Let us help you identify and treat your hearing loss before it’s too late. Call one of our offices for a complimentary hearing consultation today!

What are the types of hearing loss?

There are two leading types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.
Besides these two main types, there is also a mixed hearing loss, which is a mixture of a sensorineural hearing loss and a conductive hearing loss. A hearing loss can also be sudden, asymmetrical or hidden. The hearing loss can also be bilateral or unilateral.

What is sensorineural hearing loss?

A sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Hearing aids are usually the most effective way to treat a sensorineural hearing loss.

What is conductive hearing loss?

A conductive hearing loss is where the ears’ ability to conduct sound from the outer ear through the middle ear into the inner ear is obstructed or reduced. A conductive hearing loss can often be treated with medicine or removal of the blockage of the ear, in certain cases hearing aids or implants might be needed.

What is mixed hearing loss?

If there are problems with conducting sound to the inner ear and the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged at the same time, it is called a mixed hearing loss. It is a combination of a conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural hearing loss.

Causes of Sensorineural Hearing loss

Presbycusis or Age-Related Hearing Loss:

Individuals over age 50 can expect to begin to slowly lose some of their hearing by a process known as presbycusis or age-related hearing loss. Due to the nature of the gradual decline in hearing, most people are not aware of the change at first. Most often, it affects the ability to hear high-pitched noises such as a phone ringing or beeping of a microwave.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss:

Noise induced hearing loss is the most common form of sensorineural hearing loss and is caused by loud music listening, working around noise, and usually effects those with noisy hobbies such as shooting and motorcycle riding.

Hereditary Hearing Loss:

Hereditary or genetic hearing loss can be both sensorineural or conductive. Gene mutations can cause hearing loss in several ways. Genetic factors make some people more susceptible to hearing loss than others. It is estimated that the causes of age-related hearing loss are 35-55% genetic.

You can also experience sensorineural hearing loss having been exposed to diseases such as mumps, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, manières disease or if you have used certain drugs, especially aspirin, cisplatin, quinine or the antibiotics streptomycin and gentamicin.