Learn more about hearing loss.
What is Hearing Loss?
Many people believe hearing loss to be the complete absence of sound. However, for the majority of people who are hearing impaired, they can hear sounds, but they lack clarity. Identifying hearing loss can be tricky because the majority of cases are due to age. As we age, the hair cells inside the inner ear – which are responsible for hearing alongside the auditory nerves– begin to deteriorate naturally. This typically occurs over the course of a few years. For this reason, it can be difficult to recognize the signs until it’s too late.
Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important to manage hearing loss at the first signs. If you have noticed any combination of the following, then it’s time for a hearing check.
Hearing and Cognition
When left untreated, hearing loss can have a negative impact on speech comprehension, social relationships, and even cognitive health. The brain relies on good hearing to hear sounds and process information. Without our hearing, the brain doesn’t receive the proper sound signals it needs to stay active and healthy. Over time, this can lead to listening fatigue, forgetfulness, and cognitive decline.
Healthy hearing is a key part of having a healthy brain. If you have hearing loss, it’s important to have your hearing examined and to wear hearing aids. Hearing aids will provide your brain with the proper stimulation it needs to stay active and healthy. Don’t let hearing loss affect your cognitive health.
Types of Hearing Loss
Just as there are varying degrees of hearing loss (mild, moderate, moderately severe, and profound), there are also different types. The three main types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with conducting sound from the outer/middle ear to the inner ear. This can be due to impacted earwax, ear infection, fluid in the middle ear, ruptured eardrum, or benign tumors. This type of hearing loss will need to be corrected by a medical doctor or surgeon.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss affects the most people and occurs when there is damage to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. This can occur naturally due to age or genetics, or be the result of loud noise exposure, ototoxic medications, or head/ear trauma. This type of hearing loss can be successfully managed with hearing aids.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural loss.