What is hearing loss?
Posted on Jul 3, 2014
Hearing loss is becoming more prevalent in society, and currently affects 1 in 6 Australians, according to the Australian Network of Disability.
This term does not only refer to people who have lost their hearing entirely, but also includes those with reduced hearing. This can vary in severity and can affect people at any age.
There are three types of hearing loss and here is a guide to each type.
Conductive hearing loss
More common in children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, conductive hearing loss is caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear.
This is usually attributed to an obstruction or malfunction such as a damaged ear drum, impacted ear wax, infection, buildup of fluid or an abnormal bone growth.
However, there are plenty of medical interventions and technologies available to treat this condition. A clinician will be able to help you determine the most appropriate course of action.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Rather than being caused by an obstruction, sensorineural hearing loss is the result of a malfunction or damage caused to the cochlea or the hearing nerve of your ear.
This can be the result of ageing, exposure to loud noises and certain medical conditions such as meningitis and Meniere’s or viruses such as mumps and measles.
Affected people may have trouble hearing loud noises or understanding conversation if there is any background noise.
This can not usually be treated medically, but there is a wide range of hearing devices that can reduce its effects and improve quality of life.
Mixed hearing loss
This is a mix of conductive and sensorineural problems. One of the most common examples is where someone with age-related hearing loss develops a middle ear infection.
If you are having problems with your hearing, it is important to seek specialist advice to find an easy solution to the problem.