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Types of hearing loss

Whether you were born with hearing loss or you experienced a gradual loss with age, you can benefit from having hearing aids fitted.

What are the main types of hearing loss?

The main types of hearing loss are differentiated based on which part of the ear is damaged:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss - this is the most common type of hearing loss and is usually permanent. Sufferers experience that the clarity and amplification of sounds are affected, making people's voices sound.
  • Conductive hearing loss - is caused by damage in the external and / or middle ear and, in most cases, it is medically treatable.
  • Mixed hearing loss - In some cases, both aspects of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present; this is referred to as mixed hearing loss.
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Test yourself: Should I get a hearing test?

Answer the 4 questions below to see if you should consider getting a hearing test.

Question 1 – Around the table
Do you have trouble following conversations, when there are 4 or more people present?
Have you received advice from your family or friends to get your hearing tested?
Do you ever struggle to understand what others are saying because you cannot hear properly?
Do you find yourself turning up the TV or radio even when the volume is loud enough for others?

Your Result:

A hearing test is relevant for you

Your answers indicate that you experience symptoms of hearing loss. We strongly recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics.

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.



Book your free hearing test:

Your Result:

A hearing test seems relevant for you

Your answers indicate that you experience some symptoms of hearing loss. We recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics.

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.



Book your free hearing test:

Your Result:

It cannot be determined here if a hearing test is relevant for you

Your answers do not indicate that you experience symptoms of hearing loss. However, if you experience trouble hearing, we recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics.

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.




Book your free hearing test:

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the delicate nerve fibres of the inner ear become damaged.

Causes of sensorineural hearing loss

  • The natural ageing process (age-related hearing loss / presbycusis)

  • Excessive exposure to noise (noise-induced hearing loss).

Treating sensorineural hearing loss
This type of hearing loss is often treated with hearing aids.

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Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss usually comes from a disruption of the sound's path to the inner ear from the outer or middle ear.

Causes of conductive hearing loss
This type of hearing loss can also be caused by an obstruction in the ear canal, such as earwax or liquid preventing sound from reaching the ear drum.

Treating conductive hearing loss
Treatment for conductive hearing loss includes: earwax removal, medical treatments, and surgical treatments.

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Watch Robin's journey to better hearing

"It's not something that you notice immediately, it creeps up on you. I got really annoyed when people shouted at me. I can now hear the cat purr and the clock behind me, these are my little gems"

 


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Other types of hearing loss

There are other ways to describe hearing loss types. For example:

- High or low-frequency: Indicates whether you are unable to hear high or low-pitched sounds (i.e. high frequency hearing loss means you cannot hear high-pitched sounds)

- Unilateral or bilateral: Indicates whether one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) ears are affected by hearing loss

- Progressive or sudden hearing loss: Indicates whether the hearing loss happens quickly or gradually over time

- Acquired or congenital: Indicates whether your hearing was present at birth or acquired at a later stage in life

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female in pink

Tinnitus: ringing in the ears

Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, whistling, roaring, or hissing sound in the ear that only you can hear. Tinnitus affects 15-20% of people, and it is very often one of the first signs of hearing loss.

The most common cause is exposure to excessive noise, which damages the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. The sound of tinnitus is the result of your brain trying to compensate for the loss of hair cells. The brain misinterprets the reduced signals from the ear, resulting in a perception of sound, or tinnitus.

Sources

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes

2. David M Baguley, Mechanisms of tinnitus, British Medical Bulletin, Volume 63, Issue 1, October 2002, Pages 195–212, https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/63.1.195