Not hearing nearly as well as you did before? Find out what type of hearing loss you may be experiencing and discover the type of hearing aid or treatment may work best for you!
All hearing loss is not experienced equally. Don’t worry though, since we’re here to walk you through the process of learning what kind of hearing loss you may have, the best types of hearing aids for you, and how to adjust to living with hearing aids.
The three types of hearing loss, conducive, sensorineural (SNHL), and mixed, are differentiated by the part of the ear that is damaged.
Conducive Hearing Loss
Conducive hearing loss is caused by problems in the outer ear, consisting of the ear canal and eardrum, and the middle ear, which is made up of the three small bones commonly known as the hammer, stirrup, and anvil.
It could be caused by an ear infection, a punctured eardrum, fluid, a benign tumor, or structural abnormality in the outer or middle ear. Those with conducive hearing loss usually experience a lower, muddled sound level and miss faint sounds.
Thankfully, it can be treated medically or surgically, depending on the cause. Air conduction hearing aids are helpful with mild hearing loss, but may not be as effective with severe hearing loss. For severe hearing loss, bone conduction hearing aids are the most common solution. We’ve interviewed Aaron “Garth” Simko about his experience with bilateral conducive hearing loss and bone-anchored hearing aids, so see what he had to say about his experience!
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss, commonly referred to as SNHL, is caused by damage to the inner ear and can be permanent. While conducive hearing loss mainly effects the volume of sounds, SNHL affects understanding of the speech. The most common cause of SNHL is the absence or loss of hair cells in the cochlea, which can be caused by genetics, diseases, and exposure to loud noises. SNHL is aided by cochlear implants for more severe cases, and air conduction hearing aids or middle ear implants for milder cases.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss is exactly what it sounds like: a mixture of conducive and sensorineural hearing loss. Patients usually experience both lower sound volumes and difficulty of understanding. Deciding how to mitigate mixed hearing loss usually involves determining and addressing the type of hearing loss that is more severe.
Living with Hearing Aids
For more information on what hearing aid may be best for you refer to this hearing aid guide that walks you through the different styles and purposes of hearing aids available.
Many people who receive hearing aids for the first time give them up in frustration because they don’t restore their hearing back to 100%, unlike glasses and contacts, which can restore 20/20 vision. It’s important to pick and ease into the right kind of hearing aid for your purposes. Some are designed for quiet conversations, and others can be used for those with more social lifestyles.
Consult an audiologist to figure out which type is the best for you. Finding the right hearing aid for your lifestyle and having it fitted to your liking are the keys to taking advantage of a harmonious lifestyle!