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Types of Hearing Loss

Treatment for Hearing Loss in Birmingham

The Hearing Center at Excel ENT of Birmingham provides hearing evaluations, diagnosis of hearing conditions, and treatment for hearing loss.

The following are the types and levels of hearing loss found in children and adults, depending on which part of the hearing system is affected. During hearing check the doctor locates which part of the hearing system is damaged. The location or type of change in your hearing loss is important in determining the appropriate treatment.

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Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Birmingham

Conductive: hearing loss that is caused by something blocking or stopping the sound from getting to the outer or middle ear, such as fluid, infection, perforation of the eardrum, earwax, ear cysts (cholesteatoma), dislocation of the earbones, or bony scarring of the third ear bone (otosclerosis) are present. This type of hearing loss can be successfully treated and resolved in many cases.

Sensorineural: hearing loss where there is an issue with the way the inner ear or hearing nerve functions. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of change in hearing. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are genetic conditions, loss of sensitivity over time, and damage from noise exposure. Individuals typically report they can hear people speaking, but cannot understand what is being said. Commonly they may also feel as though everyone mumbles. They may have difficulty in school or work. They also usually hear better in quiet places and may have difficulty understanding what is said over the telephone.

Mixed: hearing loss that combines conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Examples would include a child born with sensorineural hearing loss who also has an ear infection.

Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder: hearing loss where sound enters the ear but the inner ear is damaged and doesn’t function properly.

Hearing loss can be categorized as the following:

Unilateral or bilateral: hearing loss in one or both ears

Pre-lingual or post-lingual: hearing loss before learning how to talk or after a person has learned how to talk

Symmetrical or asymmetrical: hearing loss that is the same in both ears or different

Progressive or sudden: hearing loss that worsens over time or happens quickly

Fluctuating or stable: hearing loss that gets better or worse over time or stays the same over time

Congenital or acquired/delayed onset: hearing loss is present at birth or appears later in life

The Levels of Hearing Loss

Mild: can hear speech sounds but has trouble hearing soft sounds

Moderate: cannot hear any speech when a person is talking at a normal volume

Severe: cannot hear speech at a normal volume and only some loud sounds

Profound: cannot hear any speech and only hears very loud sounds

For more information on hearing loss or hearing evaluations, contact Excel ENT of Birmingham, AL today!