Hearing Loss is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.
Hearing loss can decrease how well you hear suddenly or slowly. Depending on what causes the hearing loss, it could either be intense or very mild. It may also be only temporary or permanent. Hearing loss that slowly decreases can vary from mild to profound. The most common causes of hearing loss in adults would be age or exposure to noise. Hearing loss is a condition that is not known to most people around you, because of that no one knows how it affects you. Someone who has hearing loss might have behavior like inattention, standoffishness, confusion, dementia, or even a change in personality.
Let's look closer at the two types of hearing loss - Conductive and Sensorineural
To start off, some anatomy. The structure of your ear has three parts.
- The outer ear contains the pinna, (the external part of your ear that is visible) and the ear canal
- The middle ear contains the eardrum, three ossicle bones, and the Eustachian tube
- The inner ear contains the cochlea (involved in hearing) and the semicircular canals (part of your balance system)
Conductive Hearing Loss involves the outer and middle ear.
Someone who has normal hearing experiences sounds loud and clear. With conductive hearing loss, most things sound similar, just much quieter. The softer the sound, the more difficult to hear. The louder the sound, the more muffled it may be.
What causes Conductive Hearing Loss?
A problem in the outer or middle ear can contribute to conductive hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss involves the inner ear and/or nerve pathways.
Speech that sounds quieter and distorted, is called sensorineural hearing loss. Most of the time, low-frequency vowel sounds will be better perceived than high-frequency sounds that are constant. Soft sounds may also be difficult to hear. Certain loud sounds may be distorted and unclear.
Sensorineural hearing loss is also called presbycusis (or presbyacusis) and results from damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea or damage to the auditory nerve that transmits signals to the brain. This type of hearing loss also may be accompanied by tinnitus, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
What Causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
What Are My Options to Deal with Hearing Loss?
If you feel like there is a change in your hearing, do not wait until the last minute for it to get worse. Call us today for an appointment with Dr. Nunnally.
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