Hearing Loss

There are several types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss is sometimes referred to as nerve deafness. This type of hearing loss is precipitated by damage to hair cells in the inner ear. Each hair cell receives specific sounds and the more cells that are damaged, the poorer the hearing. The most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss is the aging process or noise exposure but sometimes the cause can be from a medical condition. This type of hearing loss may make it difficult to understand conversation or hear in a noisy environment. Hearing aids and assistive listening devices can usually help.

Conductive hearing loss is usually caused by a medical condition that can be treated by a physician. Some examples are wax build up that blocks the sound from reaching the inner ear, an ear infection, a perforated eardrum or other such ailments. If medical treatment cannot help, a hearing aid may.

Mixed hearing loss involves a combination of the two above. Medical treatment may help the conductive portion and a hearing aid may help the sensorineural component.

Causes of Hearing Loss

Chances are heredity is a factor if the hearing loss was discovered at birth or in the first few years of life. This type of hearing loss can be traced through family history.

Some diseases such as rubella, mumps and meningitis can cause hearing loss.

Some medications can cause hearing loss.

Head injuries and other accidents can cause hearing problems.

The aging process is often accompanied by a progressive hearing loss that may develop slowly over years. This type of hearing loss is referred to as presbycusis and is sometimes caused by a lifetime of exposure to noise.

Prolonged noise exposure over time is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Noise exposure on the job affects the hearing of firemen, industrial workers, musicians, etc. while non-occupational noise can cause hearing loss in the general public. Noise can harm your hearing depending on the intensity, frequency, and the length of time you are exposed to the noise. It is important to wear hearing protection to reduce the negative effects of noise exposure.