© 2018  Smiths Hearing Care Ltd  Registered Company  No: 11392567

  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon

TYPES AND CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS

Video of how the ear works

There are two main types of hearing loss: Sensorineural hearing loss and Conductive hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to the tiny hair cells that are activated by sound waves, to vibrate and release chemical messages that stimulate the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve is made up of many nerve fibres, which carry signals to the brain where they are interpreted as sound. While sensorineural hearing loss usually involves damage to the tiny hair cells, it also can result from damage to the auditory nerve.

A sensorineural hearing loss reduces the intensity of sound.  Sensorineural hearing loss can also distort what is heard, even when the sounds are clear enough. People with sensorineural hearing loss often struggle to hear words clearly, particularly certain consonant sounds, when in noisy environments. 

Most sensorineural hearing loss cannot be reversed with medical treatment and is typically described as an irreversible, permanent condition. Nevertheless, research into a cure continues. Once any underlying medical conditions have been ruled out or addressed, most people with sensorineural hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids.

Some of the potential causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Exposure to loud noise

  • Ageing (presbycusis)

  • Medicines that damage the ear (ototoxic)

  • Illnesses, such as meningitis, measles and certain auto-immune disorders

  • Genetics that is, hearing loss runs in the family

  • Trauma to the head

  • Structural malformation of the inner ear

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is mechanical in nature. That means that something, a physical condition or disease is stopping sound from being conducted from the outer or middle ear to the inner ear, where nerves are stimulated to carry sound to the brain.  Often, the cause of conductive hearing loss can be identified and treated. Medical treatment of conductive hearing loss frequently allows for partial or complete improvement in hearing. Hearing aids are then often helpful in compensating for any remaining hearing loss.

 

Potential causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • Wax buildup

  • Fluid in the middle ear due to colds or allergies

  • Fluid in the middle ear due to poor eustachian tube function (eustachian tube drains fluid from the middle ear and ventilates it to regulate air pressure there)

  • Ear infection

  • A foreign object lodged in the ear

  • A ruptured eardrum (also called a perforated eardrum or a tympanic membrane perforation), which means there is a tear in the membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear

  • Structural malformation of parts of the ear (Anotia, Microtia or Otosclerosis)

  • Cholesteatoma, developing as a cyst or sac that sheds layers of old skin.

  • Trauma to the ear or dislocation of the middle ear bones

  • In rare cases, tumours.

Technology to change your life

The most common causes of hearing loss are age and prolonged background noise. Over the course of our lifetimes, the fine hairs inside the ear gradually die off or are damaged by sound waves, becoming less sensitive. It is a bit like a door mat that gets worm down ofter time.

If you’ve worked in a loud environment such as a factory (or you are a fan of heavy rock music) there’s a high likelihood your hearing may have been affected. For all of us, hearing loss is a natural part of the ageing process, but luckily there are some highly effective ways to counter it.

On average it takes 10 years for people to address their hearing loss, even though up to 40% of over-50s could benefit from a hearing aid.

No longer the chunky pieces of plastic your grandparents might have worn, hearing aids are now as sleek and well-designed as any other modern gadget. Hearing aids are now discreet in the your ear and can adapt automatically to different situations without anyone being the wiser.  It is very strange to us why people are happy to wear glasses but not discreet hearing aids!

If you are affected by the stress and frustration of hearing loss, it’s now completely free to book a hearing test to check what can be done.

Prices for hearing aids vary, so it pays to do your homework. With our service you can find deals for as little as £350 down payment and then rent for £50 a pair, this is cheaper than many phone contracts!  There is also an option to buy the aids once you have rented for a year. What is more you will  have aftercare for life - and it’s an investment that could make a huge difference to your life.

ACT NOW -  IT COSTS NOTHING TO ASK

CALL OUR CLINIC:  01264 332207 OR MOBILE: 07864 851950