There are three types of hearing loss - conductive, sensorineural and mixed.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a blockage in the outer or middle ear, or both. This makes it difficult for sound waves to reach the cochlea (the part of the ear that converts sound waves into electrical signals to send to the brain). A conductive loss can be temporary in nature and in some cases may be treated medically or surgically. Hearing aids may also be prescribed for patients with a conductive hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss
This occurs when there is a problem in the inner ear or the auditory nerve. The most common condition associated with a sensorineural hearing loss affects the hair cells in the ear that are responsible for picking up high-pitched sounds. This is referred to as presbyacusis or age-related hearing loss.
Damage to the hair cells can be a result of:
• Excessive noise exposure
• Meniere's Syndrome
• Diseases such as meningitis
• Ototoxic drugs (drugs with side effects that affect hearing)
Because sensorineural loss often affects the hair cells that detect soft, high-pitched sounds, it can be very difficult to hear speech clearly, especially when there is competing background noise. This type of loss is permanent, however it can usually be addressed with hearing aids.
Mixed hearing loss
When a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss, it is known as mixed hearing loss. Mixed hearing loss usually responds well to hearing aids, and other treatments to address the conductive component of the hearing loss may also be sought.
MP3 / Headphones
It is well known that long term exposure to loud noise can damage hearing, sometimes so severely that it can induce deafness. Noise in the workplace is one of the most common causes of hearing impairment and teenagers have been warned about the dangers of loud music at pop concerts for as long as pop culture has existed.
Today, there is a new danger and few people probably realise that they are unintentionally damaging their hearing just by listening to an mp3 player or ipod through earphones at high volume for just an hour every day. A recent study by scientists looking at emerging health risks in Europe concluded that using earphones and playing loud music every day for five years could cause permanent and irreversible hearing problems. Five years seems like a long time, but listening to music through ear phones for longer each day would have the same effect in a much shorter time.
If you think you may have experiences of any of these hearing losses CALL 0800 587 7267 for a FREE Hearing test or Book Online.