Do you think you may have hearing loss? Or perhaps you’re concerned a loved one does. Whichever the case, the prospect of hearing loss can fill even the most stoic person with fear and anxiety. One of the best ways to dispel that fear is to arm yourself with the facts about hearing loss.
That’s why at Johnson Audiology we wanted to share some key information with you about the different types of hearing loss. But before we get started on that it’s helpful to understand a bit about the structure of the ear.
Some ear anatomy
There are 3 different regions to the ear – the outer, middle and inner ear. The outer ear consists of the parts that collect sounds and carry them inside the ear. The middle ear has structures that transmit sounds to the inner ear. The inner ear connects the whole process of hearing to nerves in your brain. Your brain then processes these sounds and makes them a part of your auditory experience.
Now we’ve covered some basic ear anatomy, it’s onto the different kinds of hearing loss.
This is where there is a blockage in the outer or middle ear. This might be caused by an infection, a build up of earwax or other issues. Sometimes, blockages can be removed or treated in a way that restores normal hearing. Other times, it might be more appropriate to use a hearing aid which makes sounds louder so that they can be heard through the blockage.
Sensorineural hearing loss
This hearing loss has its root cause in the inner ear. There are 2 issues here – a sensory problem with the deepest parts of the ear which pick up sound or an issue with the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss can be genetic or caused by illness, head trauma or repeated exposure to loud noises. Hearing aids can help with this kind of hearing loss and in some cases so can cochlear implants.
Mixed hearing loss
This is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. And so treatment can involve a mixture of hearing aids, medication and/or surgery.
Whichever type of hearing loss you have, we will get to the bottom of it. Once you’ve got a clear diagnosis we can talk you through the different treatment options and get you on the road to healthier hearing.
Accepting and adapting to hearing loss can take some time but we’ll be there to help you through it. Take the first steps and book a hearing test today.
Dr. Megan Johnson is the owner and licensed audiologist at Johnson Audiology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Western Carolina University, a master’s degree in audiology from the University of Tennessee, and her doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida.