Conductive & Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can happen to anyone of any age. You may experience it to a degree and not even be aware of it. People of all ages experience a gradual loss in their ability to hear, often due to the natural aging process or exposure to loud noise. Other causes include infections due to viruses or bacteria, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medications.
1 in 5 teens experience some degree of hearing damage, and 15% of people over the age of 18 report having trouble hearing. In addition, veterans are very likely to experience service-related hearing problems.
Sensorineural loss of hearing stems from the damage of the hair cells of the cochlea (inner ear), the nerve that runs from the cochlea to the brain, or a combination of both. This type of hearing damage is permanent and caused by old age, heredity, birth defects, disease processes, and noise exposure.
Conductive loss of hearing stems from a buildup of something in the ear canal, middle ear, eardrum, or the bones in the middle ear. This could be fluid, ear wax, tissue, or bony growth. Conductive loss of hearing is referred to as temporary or transient, because it can often be treated by removing the blockage.
Mixed hearing loss is when both sensorineural and conductive damage occur in the same ear.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), or sudden deafness, is a rapid and unexplained loss of hearing. It can happen all at once or over a few days. SSHL stems from the sensory organs of the inner ear; sudden deafness usually only affects one ear. Often times, people experience SSHL when they wake up in the morning.
A rare condition called Otosclerosis can also cause the loss of the ability to hear. Treatment for otosclerosis involves a procedure called stapedectomy.