Hearing loss isn’t just about age.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can be caused by a wide variety of factors, from age to loud noise exposure to underlying health conditions. Hearing loss is diagnosed in degrees (mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound). It is a common misconception that people with hearing loss cannot hear any sound, those who are hearing impaired can hear sounds they often just lack clarity.
Signs of Hearing Loss
The majority cases of hearing loss occur gradually, over the course of a few years. This makes it difficult to notice the signs. These are some of the most common indicators of hearing loss:
Hearing and Health
Did you know hearing is connected to overall health and well-being? The inner ear, which is home to the cochlea and hearing nerve, is extremely sensitive to changes. Loud noise exposure, age, head trauma, or health conditions that affect blood flow can all influence changes in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss.
Our ability to hear is deeply connected to other aspects of our overall health. When you can’t hear well due to untreated hearing loss, you may isolate yourself or withdraw from social situations which can lead to depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. Individuals who manage their hearing loss with hearing aids are reported to be happier, have better communication, and better cognitive health.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is categorized into three types: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common and affects the ear’s ability to transmit sound from the cochlea – hearing nerve – to the brain. This is often caused by age, genetics, head or ear trauma, loud noise exposure, or health conditions (diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure). Unfortunately, there is no cure for sensorineural hearing loss but it can be managed with hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot be properly conducted from the outer or middle ear to the inner ear. Common causes include impacted earwax, ear infection, ruptured eardrum, or fluid in the middle ear. This type of hearing loss can be treated by an ENT specialist or physician.
Mixed hearing loss is as it sounds, a mixture of sensorineural and conductive losses. Treatment includes a combination of visiting a physician for the conductive portion and hearing aids for the sensorineural portion.