Hearing loss is when you have trouble hearing due to damage or deterioration of the middle or inner ear. Hearing loss can be caused by many factors, including exposure to loud noise, age, ear infections, earwax blockage, medications, and malformation of the inner ear. There are three main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the hair like cells within the inner ear. This is often due to aging, loud noise exposure, or head/ear trauma. Problems with the nerve pathways leading from the inner ear to your brain can also cause sensorineural loss to occur. This is the most common type of hearing loss and effects the most people. Fortunately, this can easily be managed with hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss happens when sound can’t go through the outer ear to the middle ear. This can be caused by earwax blockage, ear infections, damage to the ear canal, or head/ear trauma. As a result of conductive hearing loss sounds may seem muffled. Conductive hearing loss can be treated by a medical professional with antibiotics, irrigation, or surgery. In some cases, hearing aids can help with conductive loss.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive. This can occur if there is damage to the inner ear as well as an issue with the outer or middle ear. The best solution for mixed hearing loss is to clear up the conductive portion by seeing a medical professional and treating the sensorineural portion with hearing aids.