Hearing loss is often portrayed as something which only affects senior adults. In reality, hearing loss is usually a slow-moving process that can begin to impact your life even in your late forties and early fifties.
If you are wondering if you or a loved one in experiencing hearing loss, our hearing specialist at Heroes of Hearing has detailed what types of hearing loss there are, the signs of hearing loss you can look for, why you should treat hearing loss early, and more helpful information. That way, you can make the most informed decision about your hearing health care.
Types Of Hearing Loss
There are three main types of hearing loss. Which type of loss an individual experiences will depend on where in the ear anatomy the person is affected.
- Conductive hearing loss – When there is some kind of obstruction or damage to the outer or middle ear, this type of hearing loss is known as conductive hearing loss. Some of the more common issues are damaged tympanic membranes (eardrums) or issues with the middle ear bones. Often, this type of hearing loss is congenital, but it can occur in adults who previously could hear. Surgery is usually how conductive hearing loss is addressed, with procedures such as cochlear implant surgeries and eardrum repair.
- Sensorineural hearing loss – If there is an issue with the inner ear where sound struggles to transmit, this type of hearing loss is known as sensorineural hearing loss. With sensorineural hearing loss, it is generally noise-induced hearing loss which is the most preventable source of hearing loss. Hearing aids, which can boost the transmission of sound to the auditory nerve, are the most common way to correct sensorineural hearing loss.
- Mixed hearing loss – As the name implies, those with mixed hearing loss struggle with both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Often, the solution requires a combination of hearing devices and surgery to regain hearing.
Ways To Identify Hearing Loss
As most cases of hearing loss are slow to develop, it can be difficult to identify when you or a loved one is struggling with hearing loss. Some ways you can pinpoint signs of hearing loss in your life are:
- Your tinnitus symptoms have increased from the occasional annoyance to interfering with your sleep and daily activities.
- Audio on your devices, from your TV to your phone volume, are near or at max volume.
- Being in crowded areas such as restaurants, shopping centers, and family reunions can make noises sound distorted.
- Even smaller social gatherings make you uncomfortable, as it can be difficult to clearly hear someone speaking in a group setting.
- It sounds like people are mumbling all the time.
While these things are signs of hearing loss, you won’t be able to truly know whether you have hearing loss until you come into our hearing clinic for a hearing evaluation. With an in-depth hearing evaluation, our hearing specialist can determine your level of hearing loss, what type of loss you are experiencing, and the right hearing loss treatment for your needs and lifestyle.
Untreated Hearing Loss Risks
Some people recognize the signs of hearing loss and may even come in for testing, but then refuse to have their hearing loss treated. These individuals can mistakenly believe that their hearing loss isn’t impacting their life that much, while not fully understanding the risks of untreated hearing loss. Some of the most significant risks of not treating hearing loss are:
- Continued hearing loss – In most cases, untreated hearing loss will become progressively worse. Often, this worsening is due to the individual increasing the volume on their devices to hear more clearly, creating further noise-induced damage.
- Social isolation – Hearing loss can be isolating, as you are unable to connect with family, friends, and coworkers. Especially as hearing loss progresses, it leaves people with high-frequency hearing loss, which makes hearing those with higher voices such as women and children, difficult to hear.
- Depression – There is also an emotional impact to hearing loss. Along with the social isolation taking a toll, untreated hearing loss can also impact feelings of self-worth and self-esteem as a person struggles to hear.
- Cognitive decline – Researchers have identified a troubling connection between hearing loss and an increased risk of cognitive decline. Using hearing aids to treat the loss can potentially stave off cognitive-related issues.
- Balance issues – Balance and hearing are often tied together, and when your hearing is negatively impacted, you are more likely to suffer a fall.
Hearing Loss Causes
There are multiple ways your hearing can become affected and lead to hearing loss. Some of the most common causes of hearing loss are:
- Ear infections
- Noise damage
- Cerumen blockage
Levels Of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is measured at various levels. These levels of hearing loss are determined by what decibel (dB) levels you can no longer hear.
|Hearing Loss Level||DB Sound Range|
|Normal hearing||10 to 15 dB|
|Slight Hearing Loss||16 to 25 dB|
|Mild Hearing Loss||26 to 40 dB|
|Moderate Hearing Loss||41 to 55 dB|
|Moderately-severe Hearing Loss||56 to 70 dB|
|Severe Hearing Loss||71 to 90 dB|
|Profound Hearing Loss||91+ dB|
Correct Your Hearing Loss At Heroes Of Hearing Clinic
While there is no cure for hearing loss, you can find help managing your hearing loss and restoring much of what was lost when you come to visit our hearing clinic, Heroes of Hearing. Our hearing specialist can provide in-depth hearing evaluations to help determine if you have hearing loss and will go over the results with you.
Should he find hearing loss present, our hearing specialist can help you determine what your options are, from hearing aids to aural rehabilitation.
If you are ready to take control of your hearing needs, contact us for an appointment with our hearing specialist today.