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Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive loss is caused by a condition or disease that blocks or impedes the transmission of sound through the outer or middle ear. The result is a reduction in the sound intensity or loudness that reaches the cochlea (inner ear). Generally, the cause of conductive loss can be treated with a complete or partial improvement in hearing through medical/surgical intervention or the use of hearing devices.

Causes: Conductive loss may occur at any age and can occur suddenly or gradually. Conductive loss frequently occurs because of otitis media (an inflammation in the middle ear that is usually associated with a build-up of fluid), otosclerosis (calcification of the middle ear bones), cholesteotoma (an epithelial growth usually due to repeated infection), a perforation of the tympanic membrane cause by injury or infection or a blockage of the outer ear, including cerumen (wax), a foreign object, etc.

Treatment: Most of the causes of conductive loss can be at least partially corrected through medical intervention. The effectiveness of the treatment usually depends on the severity of the condition. Most of the conductive hearing losses will improve after treatment and may even be completely restored. Conductive losses that are not improved through surgery or medication may be improved with hearing devices.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss, which is typically permanent. Sensorineural loss results from damage to the inner ear, the nerve of hearing or both and is commonly referred to as “nerve deafness”. It reduces sound intensity, but it might also result in reduced clarity even when sounds are loud enough. The loss often occurs gradually so it may go unnoticed by the affected person for years. These individuals hear well up to a certain elevated volume level, but may complain that loud sounds are unpleasant and that background noises are particularly irritating.

Causes: Frequent causes of sensorineural hearing loss are, heredity, birth defects, syndromes, viral infections, tumors, Meniere’s disease, ototoxic medication and presbycusis or hearing loss as part of the aging process.

Perhaps the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss is excessive noise exposure. The world is getting noisier and the incidence of noise induced hearing loss is increasing. Noise exposure at work or during leisure time can permanently damage the inner ear. While this can be prevented with the use of hearing protection, once the damage has occurred a hearing device is the only treatment.

Treatment: The treatment for sensorineural loss is amplification through hearing devices. Sensorineural hearing loss can occur at any age.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Sensorineural and conductive hearing loss can occur simultaneously. Physicians refer to this as “mixed”. This means that a problem occurs in both the outer or middle and the inner ear.

Contact Info

Dr. Joshua P. Light
1800 W. Woolbright Rd., Ste 201
Boynton Beach, Florida 33426
(561) 737-8584

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