There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural and mixed, and each type affects a different part of the ear.
It is important that you visit a qualified hearing healthcare professional to diagnose your type and degree of hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves are blocked in the outer ear or middle ear and cannot reach the inner ear – where hearing is still normal. Causes of conductive hearing loss include middle ear infection (Otitis Media), calcium build up around the middle ear bone (Otosclerosis), build-up of earwax or fluid due to colds. If left untreated, conductive hearing loss can result in permanent impairment.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss accounts for 90% of adult hearing problems. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the hair cells in the cochlea (inner ear) become damaged and sound cannot reach the brain where it is processed. Causes include aging, repeated exposure to excessive noise without proper hearing protection, diseases like mumps, meningitis, multiple sclerosis or Ménière’s disease, drugs (i.e. cisplatin, quinine or certain antibiotics) or rubella (German measles) contracted during pregnancy. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent. Hearing aids can help in most cases.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing losses. Conductive loss can be treated through medicine or surgery; sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, but can benefit from hearing aids.
No useable hearing in one ear
Significant or total hearing loss in one ear is also referred to as an unaidable ear or Single Sided Deafness (SSD). It can be caused by such things as: illness, head trauma, tumours (acoustic neuroma) or hereditary disorders. This type of hearing loss greatly reduces people’s awareness of sound on their poor ear side and can be very debilitating. The good news – there are treatment options available.
Unitron offers a solution called Tandem™. Tandem is a wireless CROS/BiCROS hearing system designed to help overcome difficulties associated with hearing in only one ear.
Hearing Healthcare Professionals usually describe hearing loss by degrees. The degree of hearing loss is defined in ranges of mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound.
An audiogram graphically represents a hearing loss by recording how well a series of pure tones is heard. The different tones, or frequencies (Hz) are marked on the horizontal axis. The frequency or “pitch” of the sound increases from the left to the right. The intensity level (dB) or “loudness” of each tone is shown on the vertical axis. The higher the number, the louder the sound. The Xs and Os across the audiogram represents the softest level of each tone that can be heard in each ear.