The term “hearing loss” covers a collection of all the different types of hearing loss and its varying degrees. Hearing loss can happen in one ear or both, and everyone’s hearing loss is unique based on how well they hear certain pitches, volumes, words, and tones.
The very first thing an audiologist at Denton Hearing Health Care will do before choosing any kind of hearing treatment is assess your hearing and look at its cause.
The Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can have many different causes. One of the top reasons is aging, but many people develop hearing loss for medical reasons.
Once your audiologist knows what is causing your hearing loss, they’ll know what type of hearing loss you have and they can apply the best solution.
The Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is divided into three main types:
- Conductive, which relates to how sound is processed in your auditory system
- Sensorineural, which happens when your auditory system degenerates
- Mixed, a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss can be acute or long term, and it is caused by sensory damage to the inner ear or to the auditory nerve.
Acute sensorineural hearing loss can happen suddenly, but it usually reverses itself after a few days, in 32 to 65% of cases. It’s caused by:
- Sudden loud noise, such as fireworks, gunfire, or an exploding airbag
- Ear infections
- Brain cancer, meningitis, Ménière’s disease
In most cases, these causes will need to be treated by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist immediately. Your Denton Hearing Health Care professional will refer you to the appropriate specialist.
Long-Term Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This is gradual hearing loss that is often accompanied by tinnitus. The greatest difficulty in hearing is when the person is in a room with a lot of background noise. It’s caused by:
- Aging – We start losing needed hair receptors in the inner ear at around the age of fifty. More than 25% of people over 65 have disabling hearing loss.
- Long-term noise exposure – This can happen a lot in a job where it is often loud, such as construction, the military, and industrial plants. If good ear protection is not used, the high decibels can be damaging.
- Earphone and headphone use at high volume – We are noticing this type of hearing damage more and more with younger people.
- Congenital or genetic abnormalities of the auditory system – We often see it in a generational line.
- Ototoxic medications – medication that can damage the auditory cells. Even too many over-the-counter analgesics can cause this, such as Ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
- Medical conditions – such as cardiac issues, diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune diseases, and high blood pressure.
- Head injuries – can damage cells in the middle and inner ear.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is so named when there is an obstacle to conducting the sound waves through the outer, middle, or inner ear. Sounds appear muffled, distant, or unclear. Sometimes people feel pain or air pressure or complain of their ears feeling clogged.
Conductive hearing loss can be caused by:
- Genetic abnormalities of the auditory system
- Inflammation or pus from ear infections or illness
- A growth, object, or cyst in the ear canal
- Previous ear surgeries
- A damaged or ruptured eardrum
- A buildup of earwax
Mixed Hearing Loss
This can be caused by a mix of the causes of sensory neural and conductive hearing loss.
Once the exact type of hearing loss has been diagnosed and the cause discovered, your audiologist can customize your hearing solution based on your level of hearing loss.
If You Are Concerned about Hearing Loss in Denton, TX
If you think you or a loved one might have a hearing loss, the first step to take is to get a noninvasive hearing assessment done by a hearing professional. This is the only way to discover exactly what type of hearing loss you have and what might be causing it.
Only an audiologist can recommend the best hearing treatment possible.
Schedule your hearing assessment with Denton Hearing Health Care, and feel free to contact us with any questions you have about hearing loss. We are here to help.