What are the 3 types of hearing loss? – Articles and videos, stars, health topics, physical rehabilitation


August 17, 2021

You may have trouble hearing someone on the phone or in background noise. Quiet sounds can be difficult to distinguish, and even louder sounds can seem muffled.

If you’re worried that hearing loss is the culprit, you’re in good company. About 15 percent of American adults report hearing problems, according to the National Institutes of Health. But hearing loss can occur at any age, indicating a problem with parts of the ears, the sound passing through the ears, or the pathway to the brain to process hearing.

“There are many different degrees of hearing loss, and everyone is different in the way they experience it,” says Virginia Gural-Toth, AuD, CCC-A, Head of Audiology, Tinnitus and Balance Programs to Audiology center To JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. “It’s also important to know that you can lose hearing not only in volume but in clarity, which means that no matter how loud the words are, they just don’t sound very clear. “

The type depends on the cause

Hearing loss can be divided into three main types, depending on which part of your hearing is damaged. These types include:

  • Neurosensory: Most common, this is due to damage to the inner ear resulting from a variety of possible causes such as aging, noise exposure, heredity, disease, medications, or head trauma. “This type of hearing loss is usually not medically correctable, but hearing aids can help,” says Dr. Gural-Toth.
  • Driver: This loss occurs when sounds cannot pass through the outer and middle ear, whether due to a buildup of fluid or wax, a hole in the eardrum, an ear infection, or a misalignment of the bones of the middle ear. “This is hearing loss that is usually reversible with treatment,” notes Dr. Gural-Toth.
  • Mixed: This type occurs when sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss occur at the same time, such as a person working near loud noises and having a buildup of fluid due to an ear infection. “The assessment is important to make the appropriate recommendations for follow-up, as this loss involves multiple parts of the ear,” says Dr. Gural-Toth.

How is hearing loss diagnosed?

If you have hearing problems, Dr. Gural-Toth recommends that you make an appointment with your doctor.

Your primary care doctor may refer you to an audiologist for additional hearing tests, which can reveal whether the hearing loss can be corrected medically or whether hearing aids can help you hear better and improve your overall quality of life. Rapid advancements in hearing aid technology are making these tiny devices increasingly effective at compensating for most hearing loss, but not all, she says.

Next Steps and Resources:

The material provided by HealthU is intended to be used for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your doctor for individual care.


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