Hearing loss can occur to anyone any time if some part of their auditory system suffers damage. A person’s auditory system can suffer damage due to many reasons. One of the most widely known reasons is the hearing cells in the inner ear getting damaged with time, as many old people suffer from this, and as a result, face hearing loss problems. But it is not always the case, as people can fall victim to hearing loss problems at any time of their life. One might even have hearing loss problems since their birth if they get it as a birth defect.
Whatever the reason, one must take measures to tackle the hearing loss problems they are facing. In order to take care of their hearing health, one must increase their hearing ability by going through different options such as using hearing aids, cochlear implants, surgeries, etc. other treatments. But these measures can vary depending on the type of hearing loss problems one has. As there are various types of hearing loss, and different hearing loss type demands different measures, you must know about these types to determine which type of hearing loss a person has and what measures will be most suitable.
Different Parts of The Ear
You need to know about the different parts of the ear or, in other words, different parts of the auditory system. An ear is basically divided into three parts, and when any of the three parts or more don’t function in the usual way, hearing loss problems take place. The three parts of the ear are-
The inner ear consists of a snail-shaped organ that is used for hearing, named the cochlea. There are also semi-circular canals in the inner ear that help to keep balance in the auditory system, as well as helps in the balancing process of the whole body. Not to mention the auditory nerves, which are also part of the inner ear. The auditory nerves send sound information to the brain after receiving it through the ears.
The middle ear consists of three small bones, named ‘ossicles.’ And the eardrum is the most important part of the middle ear. The ossicles send the movement of the eardrum to the inner ear as a part of the listening process.
The outer part of the ear is made up of the eardrum, ear canal, and pinna, which is the part that we see on the sides of our heads. Even though the eardrum is also a part of the middle ear, it is a part of the outer ear too, and it is also called the ‘tympanic membrane’. This is what separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are normally three types of hearing loss, and each type of hearing loss can be caused due to various or same reasons. Also, each type of hearing loss occurs due to having dysfunctions in the ear parts. These three types of hearing loss are-
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The auditory nerves that go to the brain from the ear get damaged, or when the cochlea of the inner ear gets damaged, the type of hearing loss that follows is called sensorineural hearing loss or SNHL. SNHL can not be treated medically or surgically. The usual type of permanent hearing loss we widely know about is sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss mostly occurs in older people.
As discussed earlier, the hearing cells in their cochlea, as well as their auditory nerves, get damaged with time, and their hearing ability gets reduced as a result. As the hearing ability gets reduced, various sounds might be unclear to the people with this problem. Apart from aging and gradual damage of auditory nerves, SNHL can also be caused by drugs that are toxic for ears, genetic problems, constant exposure to loud noise, sudden exposure to really loud noise, head trauma, etc.
Conductive Hearing Loss
When sound doesn’t get efficiently conducted through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and to the ossicles or the small bones of the middle ear, a person will suffer from conductive hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss causes a reduction in the sound level you can hear or causes an inability to hear faint sounds. However, unlike sensorineural hearing loss, this type of hearing loss can mostly be cured through medications or surgeries. Conductive hearing losses might be caused due to various reasons such as ear infection, allergies, fluid in the ear due to cold or congestion, impacted earwax, poor eustachian tube function, perforated eardrum, malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear bones, presence of something foreign in the ear, etc.
Mixed Hearing Loss
When Sensorineural hearing loss problems and conductive hearing loss problems occur simultaneously, it is then referred to as mixed hearing loss. If anyone faces damage in their middle or outer ear, along with the inner ear or auditory nerves, they might fall victim to mixed hearing loss.
You might fall victim to any type of hearing loss at any point in your life. But whatever the type, don’t stay away from taking proper measures. Instead, visit your audiologist to make sure of the type of hearing loss, and take measures based on that to increase your hearing ability and take care of your hearing health.