A common misconception among people who have experienced hearing loss is that all hearing loss is the same. However, hearing is as unique as our fingerprints. Just as there are different kinds of hearing loss symptoms and hearing aids that can be customized to meet individual needs, there are several types of hearing loss. And fortunately, today’s hearing aids allow for customization to your personal needs.
Still, it’s important to understand exactly what type of hearing loss you have in order to obtain the hearing aid device that is best suited to you. In this blog, we’ll explore the different kinds of hearing loss that may occur in order to help you get the hearing aid device that will help you the most.
Categories of Hearing Loss
There are three main categories of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. Each affects a different part of the ear, or in the case of mixed hearing loss, a combination of areas. Understanding the type of hearing loss you are suffering from can help you not only have more clarity on what you are experiencing, but also help you gauge the types of hearing aids that can work best for you. Let’s dive deeper into each of the three types of hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. It occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or hearing nerve, typically after damage to the hair cells within the cochlea. Sensorineural hearing loss can result from several factors, including exposure to loud sounds, genetic conditions, injury, and other circumstances.
People who experience sensorineural hearing loss should seek medical help right away, as sometimes the condition (especially if it was a sudden onset) can be successfully treated with medication within the first two weeks. If permanent, people with sensorineural hearing loss can benefit from the use of hearing aids to clarify and augment sound.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss affects the outer or middle ear. This type of hearing loss can occur for a number of reasons, such as a blockage in the ear (ear wax or foreign object), infection, injury, or other circumstances. Regardless of the cause, the result of conductive hearing loss is an inability for sound waves to travel completely into the inner ear.
Fortunately, many people who experience conductive hearing loss may be able to treat the condition medically or surgically, especially when it is due to a blockage or foreign object. Children often suffer from conductive hearing loss after either inserting foreign objects into their ears or because they tend to suffer from chronic ear infections much more than adults would.
Mixed Hearing Loss
As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss occurs when multiple areas of the ear are affected by adverse conditions or circumstances. Some people may start off with sensorineural hearing loss then develop conductive hearing loss. Others may develop both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss at the same time. Frequently, those who experience conductive hearing loss end up with mixed hearing loss due to combined factors, such as being around very loud noises on a daily basis while also experiencing inflammation in the ear, fluid buildup, or an injury.
Hearing Aids for Different Types of Hearing Loss
Because no two people with hearing loss experience the same symptoms, hearing aids can be customized to target the wearer’s needs. Some people may be better suited for in-the-ear hearing aids (also known as ITEs) while others may prefer behind-the-ear hearing aids (also known as BTEs). The important thing to remember is that there are many options, and regardless of the device you choose or that your audiologist may suggest, hearing aids can be adjusted to your personal needs to ensure they best work specifically for you.
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