A Guide to Hearing: Types of Hearing Loss

Many forms of hearing loss are impossible to cure, but early recognition and diagnosis can still make a great deal of difference. Some causes of hearing loss are treatable if caught early. Where hearing aids are usable, the time left between experiencing loss in hearing and beginning to use aids makes a lot of difference. The sooner hearing aids are fitted, the better. People adapt to using their hearing aids more readily if they have recently lost a degree of hearing than they can if there’s been a lengthy delay.

1 in 6 people suffer from some form of hearing loss. The figure rises to more than 50 % of people aged over 60. It is the third most chronic health condition in the UK. And those are just the recorded figures, unfortunately many cases are never diagnosed, or diagnosed late. As hearing loss can often be a gradual thing the easiest and quickest way of assessing loss is to simply take a hearing test. They’re quick, safe, and painless and offered by Amplifon for free.

There are 5 types of hearing loss; conductive, sensorineural, mixed, central and functional hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by sounds not being conducted or transmitted from the outer and middle ear to the inner ear. An injury or degradation of some part of the ear means that sound waves are not transmitted to the delicate nerves of the inner ear effectively. This type of loss can sometimes be successfully treated or be helped through the use of hearing aids.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve, sometimes both. Treating and curing most sensorineural conditions is not usually possible but most people benefit from hearing aids. Current medical research is being undertaken on sensorineural hearing loss causes and treatments.

Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss is a quite common type of hearing loss and will involve both conductive and senorineural hearing loss. The conductive element of the hearing loss can be treated medically. Many with mixed hearing loss benefit from the use of hearing aids.

Central hearing loss

Central hearing loss is caused by problems with, or damage to, the central auditory pathways. Often the problem is more to do with the brain’s ability to filter out extraneous noise and to focus on a specific noise source. Being unable to focus on one person speaking in a crowded room, for example, but gaining normal results from a general hearing test could suggest some form of central hearing disorder.

Functional hearing loss

Functional hearing loss is quite rare and is very hard to diagnose. It is caused by emotional or psychological problems rather than physical ones. Often patients with functional hearing loss will go through various tests, treatments and diagnosis before it is recognised, and treated through more suitable methods.

Hearing Loss Resources:

Amplifon –A leading digital hearing aids company can help you get to know your hearing abilities and find you the best solution.

Social Issues – Hearing loss can result in several problems of which sufferers and family members may not be aware of, see http://www.fdp.org.uk/articles/social-impact.html for more information.