Hearing loss is an incredibly common, but all too often untreated condition. Associated Hearing has dedicated itself to helping our community learn more about hearing loss, how they can protect their hearing, and how to get the treatment they deserve through technology, aural rehabilitation, and more.
What are the types of hearing loss?Hearing loss can be divided into three specific categories that affect the most people:
- Sensorineural loss
- Conductive hearing loss
- Mixed hearing loss
What is sensorineural hearing loss?
The most common form of treatable hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually the result of damage to the hair (or nerve) cells in the inner ear, specifically the cochlea. When the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, usually by repeated exposure to loud noise, your ability to hear becomes diminished. These hair cells do not regenerate and cannot be replaced. Noise-induced hearing loss most-often will affect your ability to hear high frequencies first. This is why hearing loss often affects our ability to hear the voices of children, many women’s voices, and speech sounds like “ch,” “st,” and many others that register in the higher frequency range. Sensorineural hearing loss, depending on its severity, can usually be treated thr
What is conductive hearing loss?
Conductive hearing loss is quite different from sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss generally occurs as the result of a blockage or an infection in the middle or outer ear. A buildup of fluids (from ear infections), swimmer’s ear, earwax, and other factors will cause a blockage that prevents sounds from reaching the eardrum. Conductive hearing loss usually is treatable and even curable, through the use of surgery and some non-surgical interventions.
What is mixed hearing loss?
As its name suggests, mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This means that, generally, some aspects of the hearing loss are treatable through surgical or non-surgical methods, whereas other factors may be treated (but not cured) through the use of properly fit hearing aids. No matter what type of hearing loss you have, the most important thing you should do if you suspect that you or a loved one has hearing loss is to seek intervention from a trusted professional. At Associated Hearing, our goal is always to take the time to understand your experience, thoroughly test and diagnose your hearing condition, and provide you with treatment recommendations that best reflect your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.
What are the signs of hearing loss?Hearing loss, with certain exceptions, is usually a gradual process. Because of its gradual onset, we don’t often recognize that it’s occurring. Our brains are working harder and harder to adapt to our diminished hearing ability, which in turn can create feelings of fatigue. If you begin to notice potential signs of hearing loss, or if a loved one points out to you that they believe you might be missing sounds, take that feedback seriously and schedule a hearing exam for yourself. Remember, the longer you wait the more you increase your chances of further developing hearing loss or even cognitive decline.
Common signs of hearing loss include:
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
- People, especially children or women with higher voices, seem to always mumble
- It’s hard to understand or follow conversations in noisy environments like restaurants
- Your responses to conversations are delayed or not in line with the subject matter
- Conversations make you feel tired or fatigued
- Phone conversations are more difficult to follow than they used to be
- You are often told you have the television turned up too loud