Although hearing loss is quite common, each person’s experience is different in terms of the type of hearing loss and its cause. Many of us have known someone who lost hearing ability due to the natural process of aging. Although this type of hearing loss is very common, there are other types and causes to understand. Knowing the causes of hearing loss can also help us avoid some types of hearing loss that are caused by damage or noise exposure. Although these types of hearing loss may be avoidable, some of the others are the inevitable result of a lifetime being exposed to sound.
Though people may acquire hearing loss through different means, the signs of hearing loss are important to know, as they indicate to us that we need to seek treatment for the condition. We’ll walk you through some general information about hearing loss and the signs to help you identify it.
What are the different types of hearing loss?
There are three general types of hearing loss associated with the location in which they occur. Conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer or middle ear, the location where sound is picked up. Sensorineural hearing loss is the second type, located in the inner ear or the nervous system that connects the ear with the brain. Among other causes, conditions at birth can cause this kind of hearing impairment. The final type of hearing loss is mixed, which combines the aforementioned two types.
In addition to these general types of hearing loss, other distinctions can help us understand hearing loss. Sensitivity to different frequencies of sound can differentiate hearing loss, and the most common type is an inability to hear high pitches or frequencies of sound. Another way to tease out the types of hearing loss is whether or not it occurs in one or both ears. The degree of hearing loss may also be asymmetrical.
What are the causes of hearing loss?
Just as there are many types of hearing loss, there are also many causes. The different locations of hearing loss tend to be associated with different causes, as well. Formative differences before birth can cause hearing impairment, but most who experience hearing loss find it to be a degenerative process over the lifespan. Some of the specific causes of hearing loss include:
- Hereditary or genetic causes
- Developmental differences prior to birth
- Injuries to the anatomy of the ear, including the eardrum
- Infections, such as otitis media or otitis externa
- Earwax buildup
- Fluid trapped in the ear canal
- Exposure to very loud noises, particularly over a long duration
- Exposure to ototoxic chemicals or drugs
Of course, these are just a few of the specific causes of hearing loss. To learn more about the cause of your particular experience of hearing loss, contact us at Beverly Hills Hearing Center.
Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) provides a useful checklist to identifying the signs of hearing loss. If you answer yes to many of the following questions, you may have a hearing loss.
- Ask people to repeat what they say?
- Have trouble following the conversation in groups?
- Think others are mumbling?
- Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio?
- Have difficulty on the phone?
- Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock?
- Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies?
- Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants?
- Embarrassed to talk openly about not being able to hear?
- Cutting out activities that you used to love but have become painful because you cannot join in fully anymore?
- Afraid to reveal your hearing loss at work in case it jeopardizes your job?
- Bluffing when out with friends in noisy restaurants?
- Feeling cut off from your young children because you cannot hear their high-pitched voices?
With untreated hearing loss, people commonly avoid social situations where they may struggle with communication. If you’ve found yourself withdrawing from activities, friends, and loved ones, then it may point to the presence of a hearing loss.
Treating Hearing Loss with Beverly Hills Hearing Center
At Beverly Hills Hearing Center, we provide comprehensive hearing tests to help you understand your hearing abilities. Contact us to schedule an appointment.