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HEARING HEALTH

Understanding the Causes and Types of Hearing Loss

Written by OrkaJul 6, 2023 - 5 min read

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Do you know the potential causes and types of hearing loss? Today, we will explore the causes of hearing loss and the different types that individuals may experience. Understanding these aspects is essential for making informed decisions about your hearing health.

Causes of Hearing Loss:

Hearing loss can arise from various factors, and it is crucial to be aware of the potential causes. Some common contributors include:

  1. Aging (Presbycusis): Gradual hearing loss that occurs as part of the natural aging process, typically starting around the age of 60. It often affects the ability to hear high-frequency sounds and understand speech in noisy environments.
  2. Noise Exposure: Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as machinery, music concerts, or construction sites, can damage the delicate structures of the inner ear and lead to hearing loss. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss.
  3. Genetic Factors: Inherited genetic mutations can contribute to hearing loss. They may be present at birth or develop later in life.
  4. Medical Conditions and Illnesses: Certain medical conditions, such as otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth in the middle ear), Meniere's disease (a disorder affecting the inner ear), and autoimmune disorders, can result in hearing loss. Additionally, ear infections, tumors, and cardiovascular diseases can also impact hearing health.

Beyond the causes of hearing loss mentioned above, hearing loss is categorized into types of hearing loss. While it is impossible to know your "type" of hearing loss without a professional test, this information may assist you in making informed decisions about you or your loved ones needs.

Types of Hearing Loss:

Hearing loss can be categorized into three main types:

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when sound cannot effectively pass through the outer or middle ear. Causes may include earwax buildup, fluid accumulation, ear infections, or structural abnormalities. In most cases, conductive hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically.
  2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear or problems with the auditory nerve pathways. It is the most common type of permanent hearing loss and often related to aging, noise exposure, and genetic factors. Sensorineural hearing loss is typically managed with hearing aids or other assistive devices.
  3. Mixed Hearing Loss: Mixed hearing loss refers to a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Individuals may experience a combination of issues related to the outer, middle, and inner ear, requiring a comprehensive treatment approach.

When to Consult a Physician:

If you suspect you have hearing loss, it is advisable to consult with a physician or hearing care professional for a comprehensive evaluation. They can determine the type and severity of your hearing loss, rule out any underlying medical conditions, and provide appropriate recommendations for treatment.

Purchasing Hearing Aids Online:

Once you have identified your hearing loss, you may consider purchasing hearing aids online. Online platforms provide a convenient and accessible way to explore a range of hearing aid options that suit your needs, preferences, and budget. However, it is essential to work with a hearing care professional to ensure a proper fitting and optimal performance of your hearing aids. At Orka, our audiologists and hearing care professionals work with you to ensure your hearing needs are appropriately met — all from the comfort of your home! If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to support you on your journey to better hearing.

About the Author

Dr. Alexi SilanceDoctor of Audiology(AuD), DNM

With over 30 years experience as an audiologist, Dr. Alexi has a passion for improving communication abilities for those with hearing loss. Her focus lies heavily on providing education about hearing aids and tinnitus management.

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All content and information on this website is for informal and educational purposes only, nothing contained herein shall constitute medical advice, and does not establish any patient-client relationship by your use and access of this blog.
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