Types of Hearing Loss

Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is a gradual loss of hearing that occurs in many people as they age. Approximately one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 experience some degree of hearing loss. Although age-related hearing loss is relatively common, it doesn’t mean that it is normal and you should have to live with it.

Outside of presbycusis, there are three main types of hearing loss and they affect individuals in different ways. Properly identifying your specific type of hearing loss is important to the proper development of your individualized treatment here at Manatee Ear Center in Bradenton, Florida.

Conductive Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss occurs when a problem with the outer or middle section of the ear prevents sound from being transferred to the inner ear. The most common causes of conductive hearing loss are:

  • • Allergies
    • Benign tumors
    • Fluid in the middle ear
    • Impacted ear wax
    • Perforated eardrums
    • Poor Eustachian tube function
    • The malformation of the outer or middle ear or ear canal
    • The presence of a foreign body

Possible treatment options: Treatment options vary depending on the severity of hearing loss. They include surgery, medications, hearing aids, or an implantable direct bone conduction system.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss most frequently occurs within the inner ear or nerve paths to the brain. Most of the time, this type of hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically corrected. Some causes of acquired sensorineural hearing loss are:

  • • Aging (presbycusis)
    • Autoimmune inner ear disease
    • Head trauma
    • Hereditary hearing loss 
    • Malformation of the inner ear
    • Meniere's Disease
    • Noise exposure

Possible treatment options: This type of hearing loss is most often treated with hearing aids. More severe cases are treated with cochlear implants.

Mixed Hearing Loss
This type is caused by a combination of both conductive and sensorineural factors, mixed hearing loss usually occurs when a person has permanent sensorineural hearing loss and then develops temporary conductive hearing loss.

Possible treatment options: Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your hearing loss. Options include surgery, medications, hearing aids, or an implantable direct bone conduction system.

Binaural Hearing

Hearing with both ears (binaural) represents the ideal listening situation. If you have hearing loss in both ears (bilateral hearing loss), you will have a much better listening experience by utilizing two hearing aids. This will help you identify where sounds are coming from, as well as hearing in a “high fidelity” quality.  Understanding speech clearly – particularly in noisy environments – is much easier with binaural hearing. Treating hearing loss with just one hearing aid is not likely to produce the desired result of optimal hearing and in fact can lead to the unaided ear quickly losing the word recognition ability.

Located in Sarasota or Manatee County, Florida? To set up your initial appointment, contact us today.