Did you know that an estimated 15% of US adults report some form of hearing difficulty? While some have had such problems since birth, many others developed them due to age.
With that said, it’s crucial to have your ears checked as soon as you experience hearing loss. That’s because some types of hearing loss can become chronic or even permanent.
To that end, we came up with this guide on the most common forms of hearing loss. Read on to discover what they are, their symptoms, and the available treatment options.
Conductive Hearing Loss (CHL)
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds can’t penetrate the outer and middle ear. As a result, it makes soft sounds harder to hear. In addition, it can reduce the affected ear’s ability to hear louder noises.
There are many causes of CHL, including a fluid build-up in the middle ear. Another is otitis media, an infection that affects 80% of children.
CHL can also occur due to problems with the Eustachian tube. Other causes include a hole in the eardrum and earwax accumulation.
Fortunately, most cases of CHL are treatable. Treatment options include medications, hearing aids or implants, and surgery.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs due to inner ear damage or nerve problems. Like conductive hearing loss, it also renders both soft and loud sounds hard to hear. It can be present at birth (congenital) or acquired.
Age, in turn, is the most common cause of acquired SNHL. However, it can also result from diseases of the immune system or the blood vessels. Infections, including measles, meningitis, and mumps, can also cause it.
Another common yet preventable cause is exposure to loud noises. In such cases, tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears, can occur right after. Here’s a guide where you can learn more about tinnitus.
Either way, it’s vital to get your ears checked as soon as you suspect you have SNHL. That’s especially true if you experience sudden hearing loss.
Note, though, that SNHL is often permanent. Medicine or surgery may not be enough to treat it. However, hearing aids can help bring back some degree of hearing.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss can occur if you have both CHL and SNHL. An example is if you develop both an ear infection and presbycusis.
As mentioned above, ear infections are common causes of conductive hearing loss.
Presbycusis, in turn, is one of the most common types of sensorineural hearing loss. It’s the gradual hearing loss in both ears due to advancing age.
Fortunately, mixed hearing loss is treatable with the same CHL and SNHL treatments. However, it’s vital to see an ear doctor right away to get your conductive hearing loss corrected ASAP. Otherwise, it may progress to the point of being permanent.
Don’t Let These Types of Hearing Loss Affect You for Life
Keep in mind that hearing loss is the fourth-leading cause of disability worldwide. Worse, experts associate it with other conditions, such as depression and cognitive decline.
That should be enough reason to seek medical help if you think you have one or more types of hearing loss. The sooner you do, the sooner you can undergo treatment to regain your hearing.
Are you interested in more guides on achieving optimal health and wellbeing? If so, then please feel free to browse our other informative blog posts!