Professional Hearing Services

Types of Hearing Loss

Q: What is sudden hearing loss?

A: Sudden hearing loss is when you suffer a loss of normal hearing all at once, or within the span of a few days. This usually affects the inner ear in what is more commonly described as sensorineural hearing loss. The loss in hearing happens because of an issue with the inner ear’s sensory organs. In most cases, this only affects one ear in each individual. 

Often, the discovery in hearing loss happens when waking up in the morning. There are a lot of ways to notice when it happens if you’re awake, but the most commonly described sound is a loud ‘pop’ in the affected ear. Common symptoms that follow sudden hearing loss is tinnitus, ear fullness and dizziness. Since so many things can cause SSHL, patients will often feel it is temporary. 

Sudden hearing loss is often undiagnosed, so the actual number of people affected continues to grow. Treatments exist to combat the problem, but become less useful the longer you wait to see an audiologist.

Q: How do I know if I have hearing loss?

A: Hearing loss is not always something that suddenly happens to your ears. It can be a gradual decline that takes years before you notice a change. Asking yourself simple questions about your reactions to sounds is the first step in identifying a hearing problem. Do you ask people to repeat their sentences? Do people around you say that the television is too loud? Is your phone always on max volume?

Along with those questions, identify hearing loss related symptoms that you may have overlooked. Shying away from conversations may become more of an issue when it is harder to understand conversations. This happens a lot in moderate to severe cases and is a natural reaction to hearing loss. Loss of balance with a bout of dizziness is a sign, and can also point to other medical conditions. When the pressure becomes pain in both ears, the side effects of hearing loss becomes an emergency situation. 

No matter the severity, all forms of hearing loss needs the care of an audiologist. If you feel that any of these symptoms apply to your current situation, make an appointment for a proper diagnosis. With many hearing related problems being age-related, it is only a matter of time before it gets worse. 

Q: What is age-related hearing loss?

A: Age-related hearing loss is also known as presbycusis. It is the gradual loss of normal hearing function that happens in all adults. The human body works like a machine, and over time its parts get worn down from use. That is why 33 percent of people in the 65-74-year range have hearing loss complications. At the age of 75, that number grows dramatically. 

Accidents related to hearing loss are common in seniors, as they miss important directions, warnings and audio cues. Both ears are usually affected, so for many seniors, it is hard to notice an actual loss in hearing until it’s too late. 

Bad ear health in your younger years can accelerate age-related hearing loss. That is why it is important to stay informed about hearing loss, regardless of age. Sometimes the loss can be temporary (earwax) leading to an easy solution to restore normal hearing. When the problem is on the permanent side, seek treatment options from Ashland Audiology. 

Q: What are the types and degrees of hearing loss?

A: The three main types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural and mixed. Conductive hearing loss is problematic for the middle ear. It is when sound has trouble reaching the outer ear canal to the eardrum. Conductive hearing sufferers will process sound as being harder to hear, usually because it is softer. Sensorineural hearing loss is an inner ear problem and occurs when there is damage to the nerves or inner ear. Faint sounds become hard to hear for sufferers of this hearing loss. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural problems.

Conductive is treatable while sensorineural is not. This is important to mention since mixed hearing loss has a degree of difficulty in resolving. When our audiologists run tests, we’ll look for many things, including the degree of hearing loss. This is usually tied to the types of hearing loss and can help identify a lot of other issues.

Your degree of hearing loss can go from the normal -10-15 range to 91+, which is in the severe hearing loss category. Decibels are the uniform measurement used to identify hearing loss. With this system, Ashland Audiology professionals always have as accurate a range as needed when running tests.