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Types of Hearing Loss and Common Causes

Over 45 million Americans suffer from at least some hearing loss

Suffering from hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of. Often, we talk to patients who have been putting off a hearing exam because they didn't realize it had gotten so bad. If you believe you're suffering from any type of hearing loss, it's time to schedule an evaluation. The earlier we catch hearing loss the better.

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The structure of the ear

Knowing a little bit about the three main parts of the ear can help you better understand the type of hearing loss you may be suffering from.

  • The outer ear is the external portion of your ear that is visible along with the ear canal.
  • The middle ear includes the eardrum, three ossicle bones, and the Eustachian tube.
  • The inner ear includes the cochlea (involved in hearing) and the semicircular canals (a component of your balance system).

There are two main types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. This can be due to blockages such as earwax buildup, middle ear infections, structural issues, or a perforated eardrum. In some cases, conductive hearing loss is present at birth or develops over time due to age-related changes in the ear.

Someone suffering from conductive hearing loss may notice that everything sounds normal, just quieter or muffled.

Common causes of conductive hearing loss

  • Earwax buildup
  • Middle ear infection (otitis media)
  • Otosclerosis
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Abnormalities
  • Tumor
  • Fluid in the ear

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noise, certain medications, head injuries, and aging. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and cannot be reversed. However, it can be slowed down with proper management.

Someone suffering from sensorineural hearing loss may notice that sounds seem distorted or jumbled.

Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss

  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Certain medications (ototoxic drugs)
  • Head injuries
  • Aging (presbycusis)
  • Diseases (meningitis, encephalitis, vestibular neuritis)

Don't delay getting support for your hearing loss

If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, it is important to schedule an evaluation. Catching hearing loss early is crucial to slowing its progression. There are treatments available for both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, so don’t hesitate to schedule.

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Take the first step towards relief: how Illinois Sinus Center diagnoses your allergens

Don’t continue to suffer from your allergies while not knowing what you’re reacting to. Schedule an appointment with Illinois Sinus Center today to learn what allergies you have and what steps you can take to reduce and eliminate the symptoms you experience when exposed to them.

Our allergy specialists will do the following to give you the answers you need:

  • Ask detailed questions
  • Learn about your allergy history
  • Discuss allergy signs and symptoms
  • Perform an examination
  • Order tests
  • Present results and create a treatment plan with you

We care about your health and look forward to working with you to put worries and dangerous allergic reactions in your past. Don’t wait until your next allergic reaction to act. Reserve your appointment with Illinois Sinus Center today!

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