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Common Types and Causes Of Hearing Loss

If you or a loved one suffer from hearing loss – or you’ve been wondering about the possibility – it may be helpful to learn about the types of hearing loss and their most common causes.

Conductive Hearing Loss

The cause of hearing loss largely depends on which part of the ear is involved, and whether the effects are permanent or temporary. Conductive hearing loss, which is more likely temporary than permanent, is caused by a problem within the structure of the ear itself. With conductive hearing loss, this is most likely due to :

  • Malformation of the middle ear

  • Excess fluid due to disease

  • Malformation of the bones of the middle ear

  • Ear drum defect or perforation

  • Narrowing of the ear canal due to surgery, infection, or impacted wax

  • Poor eustachian tube function

The problem may be caused by some kind of injury, which will usually heal. However, it could also be related to a birth defect, severe infection, or genetics. In some cases of defect or genetics, the hearing loss may be permanent, but untreated infections can also result in permanent damage.

common-types-and-causes-of-hearing-lossSensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is nerve-related. This might be diagnosed if proper function is lacking in the cochlea, auditory nerve, or auditory functions of the brain. The common causes of this type of malfunction include:

  • Exposure to loud noise

  • Viral or bacterial infections

  • Head injury or trauma

  • Autoimmune inner ear disease

  • Genetic disorders

  • Aging

  • Malformation of the inner ear

Sometimes, a person will experience both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the loss cannot be corrected.

Temporary or Permanent

Depending on the cause, hearing loss could be temporary or permanent. Temporary conditions that result in hearing loss are most often conductive, but could also be sensorineural. Permanent hearing loss, on the other hand, is most often caused by sensorineural conditions, but may also be related to conductive issues in the ear.

Proper Diagnosis is Crucial

It’s not always easy to identify the cause of hearing loss. A physical exam, clinical testing, and audiological evaluations may be needed, along with an assessment of applicable family history. Hearing loss is most successfully treated with early diagnosis. Treatments may include different types of therapy and medications, as well as hearing aids, surgery, or cochlear implants.

For more information about hearing loss, diagnosis, and how quality of life can improve with treatment, visit Hearing and Balance Doctors.

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