Hearing Loss: Diagnoses & Awareness
The outer, middle, and inner ear are three functional areas that help us hear. The outer ear collects sound waves that are processed by middle and inner ear.
These sounds typically trigger eardrum vibrations, which the middle ear’s three small bones amplify as they are en route to inner ear. From there, vibrations pass through fluid of the inner ear’s cochlea.
This snail shaped structure’s nerve cells have thousands of tiny hairs attached, which convert sound vibrations into electrical signals that are transmitted to your brain. Different sounds cause nerve cells to send different signals to your brain, which is how unique sounds are identified
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is the failure of sound mechanisms to effectively transmit from the outer to the middle ear. This condition may occur alone or be accompanied by sensorineural hearing loss.
This may be taken care of medically or by surgical treatment options including minimally invasive bone conduction systems and cochlear implants.
Common causes of conductive hearing loss include impacted cerumen (buildup of earwax), middle ear fluid, otitis externa, perforated eardrum, cholesteatoma, otosclerosis, trauma.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to and dysfunction of inner ear’s sensory cells or nerve pathways to the brain.
This most common type of hearing loss typically cannot be medically or surgically corrected. Standard treatment options include proper fitting of digital hearing devices.
Sensorineural hearing losses are often caused by: aging, hereditary factors, noise exposure, some medications, certain illnesses.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss refers to a combination of conductive and sensorineural dysfunction.