People of all ages can be affected by hearing loss, and different types of hearing loss have different causes and treatments. At Jacksonville ENT Surgery in Jacksonville and Lake City, Florida, we specialize in diagnosing and treating all types of hearing loss.
Our board-certified ear-nose-throat (ENT) providers use an integrated approach, combining physical and audiological evaluations to get the bottom of your hearing loss and make personalized recommendations to restore your hearing.
Keep reading to learn about the two most common types of hearing loss and how they affect your hearing.
The most common type of hearing loss, sensorineural, is a permanent form of hearing loss that develops when the stereocilia (tiny hairlike cells in your inner ear) or the auditory nerve are damaged.
The damage interferes with the transfer of nerve signals to the brain, causing hearing loss. Some people are born with sensorineural hearing loss, but most develop it as adults due to aging (called age-related hearing loss) or exposure to loud noise. Other less common causes include:
Some people may also develop sensorineural hearing loss after having an infection.
People diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss often struggle with problems related to understanding speech even when the volume is loud enough for them to hear the sound. This type of hearing loss can also make it harder to hear when there’s background noise and make being in loud places uncomfortable.
Sensorineural hearing loss can also affect your ability to pick up higher sound frequencies. Some of the ways this might look in real life include:
There’s no cure for this type of hearing loss. But at Jacksonville ENT Surgery, our providers help patients struggling with sensorineural hearing loss by prescribing hearing aids, cochlear implants, or noise-protection molds.
Conductive hearing loss is less common than sensorineural hearing loss and develops due to an obstruction or damage to the outer or middle ear. This prevents the conduction of sound to the inner ear, where it is transmitted to the brain.
People develop conductive hearing loss for different reasons. When it occurs in the outer ear, it can be related to ear wax, swimmer’s ear, bonelike growths, or narrowing of the ear canal. When it occurs in the middle ear, it can be related to eardrum ruptures, thickening of the eardrum, chronic ear infections, abnormal growths, or bone conditions.
Unlike sensorineural hearing loss, in which a person can hear sound at appropriate volumes but not understand it, people with conductive hearing loss struggle with loudness, but not clarity.
In other words, with conductive hearing loss, you might find yourself turning up the volume in order to hear. This may be all that’s needed for you to understand speech and other sounds. The symptoms of conductive hearing loss may appear as follows:
For some people with conductive hearing loss, the condition is only temporary and resolves when the obstruction or infection is addressed. For people with permanent conductive hearing loss, your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider may recommend surgical treatment to repair the underlying issue or hearing aids to boost volume.
Learn more about the types of hearing loss and which type could be affecting you by scheduling a consultation online or over the phone at the Jacksonville ENT Surgery office nearest you.