In a normal hearing ear the sound enters the opening of the outer ear and hits the ear drum causing it to vibrate. The vibrations cause the bones of the middle ear to move and transfer the sound to the cochlea. The cochlea is a shell shaped structure in the inner ear which houses the hair cells. These hair cells are stimulated and cause electrical impulses in the hearing nerve which travel to the brain and are registered as sound.
A conductive hearing loss can be either temporary or permanent. It can occur due to a problem in the outer or middle ear which prevents sound reaching the hair cells in the cochlea. It can be caused by ear wax, fluid in the middle ear (‘Glue Ear’), a hole in the ear drum, infection or a genetic defect. A conductive hearing loss can usually be treated by a medical procedure.
A sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and occurs as a result of damage to the hair cells in the cochlea or the auditory nerve. The cause of a sensorineural hearing loss can be age related, infection, head injury, noise exposure or genetic. The only treatment for a sensorineural hearing loss is the fitting of a hearing aid.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, which means there is damage in both the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear.
Most hearing losses occur gradually over a period of months or years and thus the symptoms are often difficult to recognise.
However, if a hearing loss is properly identified and effectively treated it can greatly improve your quality of life and that of those closest to you. At Audico, our Clinical Audiologists will carry out a full hearing assessment and determine if there is a hearing loss and depending on the extent of the loss, will advise on its management.
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