Types Of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be defined as the total or partial inability to hear. It is also known as hearing impairment or deafness. The impairment of hearing is estimated to affect a large number of people. For example, it is estimated that about 1% of American population is suffering from deafness; either total or partial deafness. This percentage is even greater for individuals whose age is more than 65 years; about 33% of this population is suffering from the impairment. Some hearing impairments are irreversible while others can be treated. It is also known that hearing is the most common type of inability in the world today. There are three types of hearing impairments; categorized according to the part hearing system that is affected. These types of hearing impairment include: sensorineural loss, conductive loss and mixed loss.

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Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural loss is as a result of the malfunction of cochlea (the inner ear) and the brain damage. It also caused by the malfunction of the nerve system that is responsible for the transmission of sound pulses from the inner ear to central hearing center that is located in the brain. The most common cause of this loss is the damage of the hair calls in the inner ear. The main reason as to why old people mostly suffer from hearing loss is that as one grows older hair cells in the inner ear get degenerated, and therefore unable to perform their functions perfectly.

Apart from hair cell degeneration, they can also be damaged by noise, especially high pitched sound. This type of loss normally interferes with understanding of speech. This is mainly because people require high frequency range that is found in consonants. The consonant sounds are normally considered as amongst the most important type of sounds that are required in a noisy environment.

Other sources of sensorineural losses include: malfunctions of congenital, ear infections, ototoxic drugs and head trauma among others. For example, the malfunction of the congenital may result into either almost total or total sensorineural loss.
The hearing loss that occurs due to the damage of hair cells is normally irreversible, since no surgical operation that can cure the impairment resulting from this damage exists. The only way that is currently available for prevention of this type loss is the protection hair calls from damaging noise.

Conductive hearing loss
Another type hearing impairment is the conductive deafness. This type of impairment exists when sound is unable to reach the cochlea. Reasons for this may include; malfunction of the external ear canal or malfunctions of the middle ear small bones. The mobility of these small ear bones (anvil, staples and hammer) can be hampered by anchylosis, trauma and/or infections.

This type of hearing loss can be treated by surgery, and by hearing aid using air conduction. The air conduction hearing aid is applied mainly when a patient does not have hearing canal. For patients whose conductive hearing loss is as a result of malfunctions of the small ear bones be treated by implanting titanium in the bone that is just behind the external ear.

Mixed hearing loss
Another type hearing loss is mixed hearing loss. This is a combination of both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.

This article has been written by Jenny who is a contributor for HearingAidsElite.com  where you can get some useful resources on  Hearing Aids.

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