Conductive and sensorineural hearing loss are two of the most common forms of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a condition that affects millions of people all over the world. It can be a result of multiple reasons and circumstances and may occur anytime during a person’s life. As hearing loss differs in type and severity for everyone, it is difficult to state a single cause. However, in some cases, it could be prevented or even averted if adequate and timely measures are taken.
The two common types of hearing loss are conductive hearing loss, which is usually mild to moderate and in many cases responds to treatment, and sensorineural hearing loss. They differ in causes, severity, and possibility for improvement. Both can occur simultaneously, however, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and the usual solution is the use of hearing aids.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and cannot be cured.
It can be both congenital and acquired later in life. It is associated with damage to the tiny hair cells of the cochlea or inner ear or nerve pathways leading to the brain. The hair cells do not regenerate or reproduce, which makes them extremely challenging to treat and in most cases impossible.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most widespread type of hearing impairment and can be due to a number of reasons such as a genetic condition, ototoxic drugs, head traumas, different types of illnesses (mumps, meningitis, Ménière’s disease), acoustic neuroma, various neurological conditions (brain tumour, multiple sclerosis, stroke), malformations in the cochlea. However, the two most common causes are aging and exposure to an abrupt or continuous loud noise. While the first is connected to the natural course of time, noise-induced hearing loss can be avoided if proper measures are taken such as wearing ear protection, e.g. at a loud workplace or rock concert.
Conductive Hearing Loss
The most common symptom of conductive hearing loss is diminished hearing ability when there are quiet sounds.This occurs when the sounds cannot be transmitted properly from the outer ear to the eardrum and the middle ear.
Conductive hearing loss is treatable and can be reversible either with medication or surgically. Reasons for this type of hearing loss may include impacted earwax, infections, fluid in the middle ear, perforation of the eardrum, malformations of the ear, otosclerosis, head injuries, foreign objects in the ear canal and others. It is crucial to consult with a specialist to determine the exact cause and the right course of treatment.
While some hearing impairment conditions can be helped with surgical intervention or medications, others can be alleviated with the use of a hearing aid or cochlear implant; for more severe cases. Your audiologist can recommend the most efficient solution for your individual situation as well as a suitable hearing aid. One of the most popular hearing devices is a behind the ear hearing aid that is powerful enough to help people with mild to profound hearing loss.
Mixed Hearing Loss
If someone shows signs of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, it can be classed as mixed hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss commonly occurs when the ear sustains a trauma and symptoms can appear gradually over time. For example, a conductive hearing loss symptom could result in that of a sensorineural symptom and vice versa.
Treatment will depend primarily on whether the hearing loss is more sensorineural or conductive.
At HearingDirect, we have created our very own online hearing check so you can test your hearing for free and in the comfort of your own home.
All you will need is a few free minutes and some ear or headphones. Once the test is complete, you will get your results instantly via email and based on the outcome of the hearing test, you may be encouraged to take further action.
If you have any questions relating to hearing loss, please do contact us and our expert team will do their best to help you.