What To Do About Hearing Loss
“Hearing loss” is used to describe the inability to hear ranging from mild to profound for which a person usually receives some benefit from amplification. Most people who are hard of hearing communicate with their voice and participate in society using their residual hearing combined with hearing aids, speech reading and assistive devices.
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Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing healthcare professionals diagnose hearing loss according to the nature of the hearing loss, which comes in three types:
- Conductive Hearing Loss: Sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the small bones of the middle ear. With conductive hearing loss, there is typically a reduction in sound levels or the ability to hear faint sounds. This type of hearing loss can usually be corrected medically or surgically.
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Hearing loss that results from damage to the inner ear, or to the nerves from the inner ear to the brain. This type of hearing loss is usually not able to be corrected medically or surgically and is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.
- Mixed Hearing Loss: Sometimes conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as mixed hearing loss.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is usually gradual. In fact, it can be so gradual that your family and friends may notice it before you do. If you answer yes to three or more of these questions, you may want to schedule a professional hearing evaluation.
- Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
- Do you have trouble following conversations when two or more people talk at the same time?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
- Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
- Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
- Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?
- Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
- Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?
Information provided from the Hearing Health Foundation.