Types of Hearing Loss
The volume of sounds you hear is measured in decibels (dB), 15-20 dB being the softest whisper and 120 dB being a jet engine. The softest sounds one can hear are called thresholds. Normal hearing thresholds for adults are considered 0-25 dB across the range of frequencies tested.
Speech testing is also conducted as a part of this series of evaluations and helps to assess the levels of particular words you can hear clearly. These tests can help determine the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing, which can be categorized as conductive, sensorineural, or mixed.
Common Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing health is an important part of maintaining your health, like a dental checkup or eye exam.
If any of these signs of hearing loss apply to you, I highly encourage you to seek out a hearing health care professional and start the process with a hearing test. A hearing care practice will be able to steer you in the right direction and set up a hearing treatment plan. The important thing is to get started.
Common signs of hearing loss that you should pay close attention to:
- Everybody seems to mumble or your finding yourself struggling to hear in a variety of situations
- You have trouble hearing the television
- You have trouble hearing high pitched voices such as women or children
- You have trouble hearing in restaurants or areas with background noise
- You have ringing in your ears
- Your ears feel plugged
Conductive Hearing Loss
- Outer or middle ear infections
- Complete earwax blockage
- Deterioration of the middle ear bones (ossicles)
- Otosclerosis, the fixation of the ossicles
- Perforated tympanic membrane or a hole in the eardrum
- Absence of the outer ear or middle ear structures
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the sensory receptors of the hearing system, specifically in the cochlea of the inner ear or auditory nerve. The majority of sensorineural hearing loss occurs as a result of an abnormality or damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. This abnormality prevents sound from being transmitted to the brain normally, which results in hearing loss.
Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss may hear muffled speech, suffer from tinnitus (or ringing in the ears), have difficulty hearing in background noise or clarity of speech problems.
Sensorineural hearing losses are generally permanent and may remain stable or worsen over time. Routine hearing tests are needed to monitor the hearing loss. Hearing aids are the most common and successful treatment, allowing hearing care professionals to adjust settings as needs change.
- Congenital: These hair cells have been abnormal since birth, which is considered a congenital condition.
- Damage to hair cells: A deficit in hearing also occurs when the cells are damaged as a result of genetics, infection, drugs, trauma or over-exposure to noise (late-onset or acquired).
- Presbycusis: Age-related hearing loss
Mixed Hearing Loss
To Better Hearing
Make informed decisions on the purchase of your next hearing aid device!