Many people assume that hearing loss only occurs late in life and affects mainly the elderly. While it is true that 1 in 3 people (33%) over the age of 65 experience some degree of hearing loss, for the rest of us, 1 in 10 people (10%) also suffer from hearing loss.
Hearing loss can occur at any age – and for many reasons.
In general, there are three types of hearing loss:
1. Conductive Hearing Loss
…results from disorders in the outer or middle ear. Sounds are prevented from reaching the inner ear, so they sound faint and/or distorted. Common causes for conductive hearing loss may include wax build-up, infection or fluid in the middle ear, foreign objects in the ear canal, or a perforated eardrum. Generally, medical procedures or surgery will successfully treat conducive loss for complete or partial hearing improvement.
2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
…occurs when inner ear nerves are damaged and cannot properly transmit signals to the brain. With this type of loss, sounds do not seem clear. Because inner ear nerves and sensory cells naturally diminish over time, this is the most common type of hearing loss as people age. However, sensorineural hearing loss may also result from injury, exposure to loud noises, diabetes, ototoxic medications, heredity, and a variety of diseases. Sensorineural hearing loss is often successfully treated with hearing aids.
3. Mixed Hearing Loss is a combination of a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss.