Many Americans experience hearing loss at some point in their life. There are three main types of hearing loss that can develop: sensorineural, conductive, and neural.
The causes of these types of hearing loss can vary, as well as the level of hearing loss. Below, we explore the three types of hearing loss and what can cause them.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural is the most common type of hearing loss. It’s named as a result of the damage or weakening of either the sensory hairs or the nervous system.
This type of hearing loss usually originates from the hair cells in the inner ear. The most common causes of sensory hearing loss are excessive noise exposure, when your ears are overstimulated by noise at high volumes or constant vibration.
Other causes are viruses that invade the inner ear, vascular issues, and medications that can damage the inner ear hair cells. Most of us develop sensory hearing loss as we get older. Others can develop this type of hearing loss from:
- Hereditary background
- Ototoxic medicine
- Frequent high fevers or elevated body temperature
- Ménière’s disease
- Acoustic tumors
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is caused by something that prevents soundwaves from getting through to the inner ear. This can be caused by many issues, including blockages from wax or other debris plugging the ears. If someone has ever told you that they were able to significantly improve their hearing with surgery, it’s likely that they had conductive hearing loss.
Other common causes are issues with the eardrum, ear infections, or the impaired mobility of the middle ear bones. Infections of the ear canal or middle ear can produce a buildup of fluid or pus that can block the inner ear. An abnormal bone growth in the middle ear called otosclerosis, and other abnormal growths or tumors, can block the inner ear.
Oftentimes, this type of hearing loss is only temporary and can be treated by a specialist. Most patients with conductive hearing loss also benefit tremendously with hearing aids.
Neural Hearing Loss
Neural hearing loss is relatively rare, as it is linked directly to the auditory nervous system. If there is damage to the auditory nerve, this causes neural hearing loss.
Even when all other auditory parts of the ear are well and functioning normally, hearing can still be difficult or impossible because the nerves don’t make the communication. Neural hearing loss doesn’t just impair one’s inability to hear volume, it may also cause sounds to be distorted.
How Do I Know What Type of Hearing Loss I Have?
Diagnostic hearing tests can help your physician to differentiate and diagnose between the various types of hearing loss. It also provides additional information as to the appropriate medical referrals or hearing aids.
Doctors in Sarasota and Bradenton
Small adjustments to your daily routine can help reduce your risk for hearing loss, and a doctor can help explain these to you and make recommendations. If you or someone you know has any issues with hearing, be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Call our friendly and experienced staff at Intercoastal Medical Group today for an appointment at one of our area locations. You can also fill out our simple online appointment request form now. We look forward to partnering with you in maintaining optimum wellness for an enjoyable, fulfilling lifestyle!