Hearing Loss Types: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Our daily lives depend on our hearing. The ear is our most complex and important sensory organ which we use to communicate, exchange information, listen to music, and enjoy the wonderful sounds of nature.
Unfortunately, some form of hearing impairment can develop over time, affecting our ability to live a normal life. It can occur in people of all ages and for many reasons. Although it cannot be restored completely, there are several treatment options available that can help you improve your hearing.
However, to acquire the best treatment, you should first determine the type of hearing loss you have. In this article, we outline the different hearing loss types as well as their causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and it occurs when the inner ear becomes damaged. It can also result from problems in the neural connections between your inner ear and your brain.
Causes of SNHL
This type of hearing loss may be caused by infections that directly or indirectly cause damage to the ear. For instance, high body temperatures can cause irreversible damage to parts of your ear.
Another common cause of SNHL may be head injury or problems with the structure of the inner ear. Also, hearing loss can be genetically predisposed if it runs in the family. So, if you have suffered from hearing impairment, you might want to undergo genetic testing during pregnancy so you can be prepared.
Symptoms of SNHL
Common symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss include:
- Muffled hearing
- Difficulty understanding speech
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Trouble hearing high-pitched sounds
- Ringing in the ear, or tinnitus
Treatment of SNHL
At the moment, there is no surgical option to treat SNHL. However, there are some treatment options available such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Conductive Hearing Loss
If you have conductive hearing loss, sounds may have trouble reaching your inner ear. It may be hard to hear soft sounds while louder sounds may be muted. This type of hearing loss can often be reversed with the correct treatment, medicine, or surgery.
Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss can be caused by many things, including liquid discharge from allergies, ear infections, swimmer’s ear, and other factors. A poorly functioning Eustachian tube could also cause hearing loss.
Another cause is a hole in the eardrum. This could be caused by an object that was too deep within your ear, such as a Q-tip. You should always be cautious when cleaning your ears. If you suspect that you have damaged your eardrum, call your doctor immediately.
Symptoms of conductive hearing loss
Common symptoms of conductive hearing loss include:
- Muffled hearing
- Inability to hear quiet sounds
- Ear pain
- Fluid drainage from the ear
- Full or stuffy ears
Treatment of conductive hearing loss
Depending on what the cause of your conductive hearing loss is, there are different treatment options available. For example, if your hearing loss is due to an ear infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Both a conductive and sensorineural hearing impairment can occur simultaneously. This could indicate injury to the inner or outer ear, the middle ear, or the brain’s neural system. It’s essentially a combination of hearing loss and hearing impairment.
Causes of Mixed Hearing Loss
Anything that is a cause of conductive or sensorineural hearing loss, can produce mixed hearing loss. For instance, you might have hearing loss from working in noisy environments and liquid in your middle ear. Together, they could make your hearing worse than if you only had one problem.
Symptoms of mixed hearing loss
The most common symptoms of mixed hearing loss are:
- Decreased ability to hear faint sounds
- Feeling of pressure or pain in your ears
- Vertigo or balance issues
- Ringing in the ears
- Your own voice sounds off
Treatment of mixed hearing loss
The most common treatment option available for mixed hearing loss may be some form of medical or surgical intervention in combination with hearing aids.
Our hearing is one of our most precious senses. Unfortunately, it can decrease over time for a variety of reasons, affecting our ability to live a normal life. Adults, for instance, should get their hearing examined at least once a year. Even if you’re dealing with hearing loss, there are a few treatment options available to improve your hearing ability.
To acquire the best one, it is important that you first acquaint yourself with the most common types of hearing loss and learn about their causes and symptoms. Be sure to refer to our guide and get all the information you need.