Nearly 50 million cases of hearing loss in the US alone. That’s a lot! With various factors impacting the way we hear and respond to our surroundings, it’s important to know what causes hearing loss and how to look out for warning signs.
1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
With Sensorineural hearing loss, it’s actually not the auditory nerve itself that is the problem, but the little tiny hair cells located in your cochlea. If these hairs don’t work right, you’ll have hearing loss.
The most common causes of this hearing loss is noise exposure and age. Nearly everyone will experience this type of loss if an individual lives long enough. Regarding noise exposure, Sensorineural hearing loss can be prevented! By taking precautionary measures around noisy environments (such as concerts, loud machinery, firework shows, etc.) people can actually protect themselves against loss with proper ear protection.
Two less common types of Sensorineural hearing loss are Sudden & Acoustic Neuroma hearing loss:
- Sudden: Sudden hearing loss is generally caused by a virus attacking the hair cells in your cochlea. Usually, the loss is detected in only one ear. If you notice hearing loss in one ear, it’s important to visit a doctor immediately. Treatment includes steroids, but success with treatment depends on how quickly you get to a doctor after noticing hearing loss.
- Acoustic Neuroma (a benign tumor): Similar to Sudden hearing loss, an Acoustic Neuroma is usually detected in only one ear. An Acoustic Neuroma can also cause sudden hearing loss, but not always. This is when a tumor develops on the balance (vestibular) and hearing (cochlear) nerves leading from the inner ear to your brain. Cases vary in severity where some neuroma’s only require monitoring and observation whereas others require surgery.
2. Conductive (Mechanical) Hearing Loss
A Conductive hearing loss is one that’s caused by something preventing the proper transmission of sound to the cochlea. This doesn’t mean something is wrong with your cochlea or auditory nerve, rather, it means that sound can’t make it from your outer ear to your inner ear. There are many causes of conductive hearing loss. Some of the most common are ear wax, an eardrum with a hole in it, fluid behind the eardrum, or disconnected/fused ossicles. A simple hearing test will be able to decipher exactly where the problem is.
Conductive hearing loss often requires medical intervention and, sometimes, surgery.
3. Mixed Hearing Loss
This is when there is a component of a Sensorineural hearing loss combined with a Conductive hearing loss. This type of loss is not common and requires multiple types of treatment.
If you, or someone you know might be experiencing hearing loss, it’s essential to get your hearing tested by a licensed audiologist. Contact Center for Hearing today to schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists!
4300 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72903