Just as there are numerous reasons for hearing loss, there are several forms of hearing loss; understanding the manner in which we hear is the first step in understanding the various types. We receive sounds via the outer ear, which isn’t just the section of the ear on the outside of our heads, but also the ear canal and the eardrum. The middle ear includes the eardrum as well, but additionally consists of the ossicles (three small bones that convert the vibrations of sound into information and convey them to the inner ear). Finally, the inner ear contains the cochlea (a tiny, snail-shaped organ), two canals with a semicircular shape that are critical to our sense of balance, and the acoustic nerves, which transmit the signals to our brains. This is an extremely intricate mechanism, and problems may occur in any part of it that produce hearing loss. There are four primary types of hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss is a result of something interfering with the transmission of sound in the outer or middle ear. This type of hearing loss can frequently be solved with medication or surgery; if surgery is not a possibility, it can be treated with hearing aids.
Damage to the inner ear, including the cochlea, hair cells lining the inner ear, or the acoustic nerves is called sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing aids are usually the best option for treating sensorineural hearing loss, as most cases are not successfully remedied with medication or surgery.
The third classification is mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, and which can often be treated using the same combinations of surgery, medication, and hearing aids.
Central hearing loss occurs when sound enters the ear normally, but because of damage either to the inner ear (especially to the cochlea) or to the auditory nerves, it cannot be organized in a way that the brain can understand.
Each of these four main classifications contain several sub-categories, such as the degree of hearing loss, which can be mid-level, moderate, severe, or profound. Hearing loss can also be classified as either unilateral or bilateral (occurring in only one ear or both ears), as pre-lingual or post-lingual (occurring either before or after learning to speak), and symmetrical or asymmetrical (occurring to the same or different degree in both ears). Other sub-categories of hearing loss include progressive or sudden (occurring gradually or all at once), fluctuating or stable (getting better at times, or staying the same), and congenital or acquired (present at birth or developing later in life). Whatever the cause of your hearing loss, our specialists will help you diagnose the cause and help you treat it properly and effectively.