What You Need to Know: Types of Hearing Loss and Effective Treatments
Listening to a song can bring us nostalgia for the past, recognizing a familiar voice gives us feelings of joy, and the sudden sound of an alarm puts our five senses on alert. Just as we say that the eyes are the windows of the soul, could we then affirm that the ears are its doors? What if my ear have hearing loss？
When it comes to hearing loss, the type often depends on the affected part of the ear and the extent of the impairment. Explore what conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss entail, and discover effective treatment approaches.
Levels of Hearing Loss
The extent of a person's hearing loss is categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound, determined by the decibels Hearing Level (dBHL) they can perceive. Explore the nuances of these degrees to better understand the range of auditory impairments.
Type of hearing loss
Can hear soft sounds above 20 dB HL
Mild hearing loss
Individuals with mild hearing loss face minimal issues during face-to-face conversations. However, in noisy environments, understanding certain words becomes challenging. Technically defined as hearing loss in the speech frequency range between 20 to 35 dB.
Moderate hearing loss
At this level, speakers are often asked to repeat themselves with frequent instances of "What?" or "Pardon?" in both face-to-face and telephone conversations. Those with moderate hearing loss cannot hear sounds below 35 to 50 decibels.
Severe hearing loss
Severe hearing loss manifests when one struggles to comprehend spoken words without wearing hearing aids, often relying on lip-reading for understanding. Individuals at this level cannot hear sounds below 50 to 65 decibels.
Profound hearing loss
Those with profound hearing loss can only perceive loud conversations and may find it challenging to understand even with hearing aids or cochlear implants. Communication through sign language may be preferred. People with this level of hearing loss cannot hear sounds below 80 decibels.
To better understand the degrees of hearing, here are some examples of sounds in decibels that we hear in everyday life and that can affect hearing.
Types of hearing loss
We can distinguish between several types of hearing loss depending on the location of the lesion:
Conductive hearing loss
where obstacles disrupt the transmission of sound waves to the inner ear through the outer and middle ears. This can be simulated by merely covering your ear.
Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
- Middle ear infections (otitis media)
- Benign tumors (cholesteatomas)
- Perforated eardrums, trauma, and malformations of the middle and outer ear.
- Fluid accumulation or abnormal bone growth, leading to temporary or permanent hearing loss.
Speech may be intelligible, especially at higher volumes and in quieter environments. Conventional hearing aids can provide some assistance, although they may not always suffice.
Hearing aids or hearing implants can amplify acoustic signals, allowing sound to bypass the obstructed middle ear. However, for moderate or advanced cases, hearing aids might not be the optimal solution. Additionally, individuals with malformations in the external ear may face limitations in using these devices. Explore the diverse solutions available to address conductive hearing loss and enhance auditory experiences.
Sensorineural hearing loss
The term sensorineural hearing loss describes two different problems: sensory loss involving the inner ear and neural loss involving the auditory nerve.
Causes of sensorineural hearing loss
- Congenital Hearing Loss: Present from birth, it can be inherited or result from abnormal fetal development during gestation.
- Acquired Hearing Loss: Develops after birth and may result from various factors, including trauma, presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), chronic exposure to loud noises, Meniere's syndrome, meningitis, ototoxic medications, or tumors in the auditory nerve.
Difficulty understanding speech, even when adequately loud, for those with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
Problems locating the source of sounds or hearing in background noise for those with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
Treatment for sensorineural hearing loss depends on severity and whether it affects one or both ears.
Effective for mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss in one or both ears.
Amplify sounds, making them louder, though not necessarily clearer.
Distorted sound perception may occur if the inner ear is severely damaged.
Understanding the nuances of sensorineural hearing loss aids in tailoring solutions to individual needs and enhancing overall auditory experiences.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss, which means that there is damage to both the outer or middle ear and the inner ear.
For people with mixed hearing loss, sounds may be both lower in volume and harder to understand.
Causes of mixed hearing loss
- The causes will be due to the conditions of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. Birth defects, diseases, infections, tumors or masses and head injuries can cause hearing loss, both conductive and sensorineural.
- Overexposure to loud noise
If the hearing loss is mostly conductive , speech tends to sound intelligible, but only when the volume is high enough and there is not too much background noise.
If the hearing loss is mostly sensorineural , it may be difficult to understand speech, even when it appears to be loud enough.
Solutions for mixed hearing loss
Depending on the degrees and composition of mixed hearing loss, it can be treated with medication, surgery, hearing aids, or an implantable bone conduction hearing system.
Improving mild and moderate hearing loss with ELEHEAR's OTC hearing aid
For individuals grappling with mild and moderate hearing loss, relief is within reach through ELEHEAR's Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aid.
These innovative devices offer a practical and accessible solution to enhance auditory experiences, allowing users to navigate conversations and environments more effortlessly. Even facing challenges in noisy settings, ELEHEAR's OTC hearing aids provide a discreet and effective means to improve the clarity of sound and reconnect with the world of hearing. Explore the possibilities of clearer communication and heightened audio perception with ELEHEAR's user-friendly OTC hearing solutions.
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With ELEHEAR, you can trust that our products are designed to provide an exceptional hearing experience while prioritizing user safety and regulatory compliance.
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