What Types of Hearing Loss are Treatable?

Hearing fully requires both volume and comprehension. Hearing loss usually begins with a reduction in volume, and then progresses causing the listener stress in trying to understand normal conversations. Untreated, cognitive decline can lead to social withdrawal as people avoid difficult hearing situations, followed by depression as daily interaction becomes harder.

If your hearing is normal, you can easily simulate what happens by gently plugging your ears with your fingers. This creates approximately 25 decibels of volume loss, and a plugged-up sensation. See how much more difficult hearing conversation becomes? Even a mild loss can be irritating.

While not all hearing loss is preventable, we can help prevent it from dictating your future. Identifying different types of loss allows proper treatment. What are common hearing loss causes? Most hearing losses fall into one of two categories: conductive, or sensorineural. Let’s explore hearing loss causes in simpler terms.

Hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss: Not getting through

When sound can’t reach the inner ear, the diagnosis is conductive hearing loss. There are many possible reasons:

  • A blockage, such as too much earwax, or a foreign object in the ear canal.
  • An injury, perhaps causing a perforated ear drum.
  • An infection in the middle ear, causing fluid build-up.
  • Disease or damage to the small middle ear bones.

Someone experiencing conductive loss often feels plugged up. Their own voice may sound odd, and they may speak more softly than usual. Chewing foods may interfere with hearing. In severe cases, there may be a throbbing sensation with pain.

With a careful hearing evaluation, an audiologist may determine you are experiencing conductive hearing loss. They may refer you to an ENT (ear-nose-throat) physician for further diagnosis and treatment. The good news is if there is no irreparable damage to ear structures or nerves, the problem can often be corrected medically or surgically.

Sensorineural hearing loss: Less response

Much more common are problems in the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss happens when the tiny hairs in the inner ear don’t respond to sound as fully as they should. This can be due to age, prolonged exposure to loud noise, or issues with blood circulation or nerves in the ear.

Age-related hearing loss shows up as reduced volume at higher frequencies, and more difficulty hearing in noise. Sounds such as consonants and sibilants such as “sh” are difficult to discern. A comprehensive hearing evaluation by an audiologist can see reveal how severe the hearing loss is, determining a prescription to correct it.

Get the latest technology

At Southern Medical Hearing Centers, we want you to enjoy a lifetime of sound. 90% of age-related hearing loss is treatable with the latest hearing aid technology, properly fitted and programmed. Hearing aids reduce the stress in listening, help cognition stay sharp, and allow listeners to engage the people around them with greater ease.

If you are a first-time hearing aid candidate, or your hearing aids are more than five years old, we’d like to see you to evaluate your current hearing and fit you for the latest hearing aids.

Are you ready for better hearing?

See us for an evaluation, new hearing aids, or a tune-up.