There are 3 different types of hearing loss:
1. Sensorineural hearing loss
2. Conductive hearing loss
3. Mixed hearing loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
This is the most common type of hearing loss. It occurs if the cochlea (hearing organ) and/or the hearing (auditory) nerve are not functioning properly and are unable to send signals from the ear to the brain. In particular, it is the hair cells in the cochlea that become damaged and can no longer function. This is usually a gradual process most commonly caused by age or even noise damage but also by genetics, certain diseases or viruses and certain medications/chemicals.
Sensorineural hearing loss is often permanent and no surgeries or procedures can correct it. However devices such as hearing aids are available to help to improve hearing.
Conductive Hearing Loss:
Conductive hearing loss occurs where there is something blocking and/or preventing sound from being transmitted through the outer and/or middle parts of the ear. It could be caused by something as simple as wax completely occluding the ear canal or could be due to fluid behind the ear drum, a hole in the ear drum or abnormal bone growth (otosclerosis). Fluid build-up behind the ear drum and holes in the ear drum are quite common in children and within the indigenous population.
Conductive hearing losses can often be corrected with time (in the case of fluid build-up) and/or surgery. If surgery is not an option, there are some devices such as the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) that are specifically designed to assist with conductive hearing losses.
Mixed Hearing Loss:
From its name, you may have guessed that a mixed hearing loss is a combination of a sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. For example someone with an ‘age related’ hearing loss may also have a hole in their ear drum or fluid behind their ear drum.
An appointment for a full diagnostic hearing test with one of Knox Audiologists can help determine the type and degree of your hearing loss. Call us on 9800 5697 or on 9839 3350 to arrange a diagnostic hearing assessment with us today.