Degrees Of Hearing Loss
There are various degrees of hearing loss which affect people in different ways and can be mild to severe. When figuring out the best way to treat hearing loss, it’s important to understand the different degrees and severities.
Did you know that the volume of sounds you hear is measured in decibels (dB), 15-20 dB being the softest whisper and 120 dB being a jet engine? The softest sounds one can hear are called thresholds. Common hearing thresholds for adults are considered 0-25 dB across the range of frequencies tested.
As part of this series of evaluations, we also conduct speech testing as it helps to assess the levels of particular words you can hear clearly. These tests can help determine the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing, which can be categorized conductive, sensorineural or mixed.
1. Conductive Hearing Loss
When there is a problem with the way sound is conducted to the inner a structure called the cochlea, conductive hearing loss occurs. This may be due to the ear canal, eardrum (tympanic membrane) or the middle ear (ossicles and Eustachian tube).In this type of hearing loss, the inner ear and auditory nerve remain unaffected.
Some causes of conductive hearing loss can include:
Infections of the outer or middle hear
Perforated tympanic membrane or a hole in the eardrum
Deterioration of the middle ear bones (ossicles)
Otosclerosis, the fixation of the ossicles
Absence of the outer ear or middle ear structures
Conductive hearing loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the source of the problem. Medical management can correct some cases of conductive hearing loss, while hearing aids may be a recommended treatment option in long-standing or permanent cases.
2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
When there is a problem with the sensory receptors of the hearing system (specifically in the cochlea of the inner ear or auditory nerve), sensorineural hearing loss occurs. A large part of sensorineural hearing loss occurs as a result of an abnormality or damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. This abnormality prevents sound from being transmitted to the brain normally, which results in a hearing loss. Those with sensorineural hearing loss may hear muffled speech, suffer from tinnitus (or ringing in the ears), have difficulty hearing in background noise or clarity of speech problems.
There are a variety of causes of sensorineural hearing loss, including:
Congenital: Considered a congenital condition, these hair cells have been abnormal since birth.
Damage to hair cells: A deficit in hearing also occurs when the cells are damaged as a result of genetics, infection, drugs, trauma or over-exposure to noise (late-onset or acquired).
Presbycusis: Age-related hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing losses are generally permanent and may remain stable or worsen over time. Routine hearing tests are needed to monitor hearing loss. Hearing aids are the most common and successful treatment, allowing hearing professionals to adjust settings as needs change.
3. Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss occurs when an individual has a sensorineural hearing loss in combination with a conductive hearing loss. This means there is a problem in the inner ear as well as in the outer and/or middle ear.
Hearing Aid Service
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Hearing assessments are offered to adults and children school-aged and up.