Hearing loss can be conductive or sensorineural in nature.
Conductive hearing loss is typically related to pathology in the middle ear system. If we identify that your hearing loss is conductive in nature, we will refer you to one of the ENT’s (Ear, Nose & Throat) Specialists that are located close to you. Conductive hearing loss is often manageable by medication or surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss is typically related to the inner ear. The onset of hearing loss is often a gradual process, so people are sometimes not aware that their hearing is deteriorating. Hearing loss often affects the high pitch sounds first, so loudness is often normal, but clarity is impaired.
Difficulty hearing in background noise, such as restaurants, is a typical sign of hearing loss. Other symptoms that may accompany hearing loss include ringing tinnitus, dizziness or balance disturbances.
The inner ear is often the culprit in permanent hearing loss. The inner ear is made up of rows of hair cells (see to the right) which provide clarity and sharpness to sounds, particularly in background noise. They are also designed to make soft sounds audible, and loud sounds comfortable, as they are your personal amplification system.
When the hair cells become damaged – by age, genetics or noise – they cannot be replaced. Symptoms that result from hair cell damage include loss of loudness, loss of clarity, particularly in background noise, and tinnitus. Modern hearing instrument technology mimics the function of the hair cells.
Speak to an audiologist and have your hearing tested!