The Main Types of Hearing Loss: This is What You Should Understand

According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million people worldwide suffer from a debilitating level of hearing loss. With numbers like these, it’s important to stay on top of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss to help treat it as soon as possible.

But adding a further wrinkle to this problem is that there are multiple types of hearing loss, and each comes with their own set of caveats. But what are these different types?

Well, search no further! We’re here to tell you all about the main types of hearing loss! But enough preamble, let’s do this thing!

Type 1: Conductive Hearing Loss

The first type of hearing loss we’re going to talk about is conductive hearing loss. This happens when a blockage of some kind happens with the outer ear (the part we can see) which prevents sound waves from traveling to the inner ear. The blockage can range from something as inconsequential as earwax to more serious symptoms like an ear infection.

The signs of hearing loss as it applies to the conductive variety tend to appear as everything feeling like it’s at a lower volume or being unable to hear faint sounds others can. If cleaning your ears doesn’t help, there are many types of medicine your doctor can prescribe to help (or surgery if its severe enough).

Type 2: Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Unlike conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent. It occurs when either the nerves in your ear or part of your cochlea get damaged (your cochlea helps convert sound waves into signals your brain can understand and translate).

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Sensorineural is the most frequent cause of debilitating hearing loss and is usually caused as a result of old age or frequent and close proximity to loud noises (like rock concerts or construction equipment). However, certain types of diseases and head injuries will also inflict this condition. It’s even a potential side effect of some medicines!

The symptoms of this kind of hearing loss are having difficulty with hearing sounds at all or not hearing clear sounds (i.e, people talking at a normal volume sounding like they are mumbling).

Sensorineural hearing loss is not reversible, but hearing aids will help a lot. In extreme cases, doctors can plant a device in your ear that amplifies any signal the cochlea receives.

Type 3: Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is the literal hybrid of the other two kinds of hearing loss, happening when both types of hearing loss are present at the same time. Doctors will need to determine the conductive’s cause first, then move on to the sensorineural (as conductive’s effects are often treatable and can impair attempts to help sensorineural problems).

There is also an emerging fourth kind known as auditory neuropathy, which happens when the transmission of signals from the inner ear to the brain gets scrambled despite everything else working fine. However, we don’t know much else about this particular type of hearing loss.

Now You Know the Different Types of Hearing Loss

Now that you know all the different types of hearing loss, you’re well-equipped to keep an eye out for the signs to treat them before they get worse! Want more tips on how to keep your body healthy? Then check out some of the other posts on our blog!

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So until next time, stay safe out there!

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