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What kind of hearing loss do I have?

elderly man on a hearing test

Hearing loss affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by various factors, including exposure to loud noises, aging, and certain medical conditions. The type and severity of hearing loss vary from person to person, making it necessary to understand the different types of hearing loss and their potential triggers. 

In this blog, we will talk about the different types of hearing loss and provide some insights into what kind of hearing loss you may have.

3 Types of Hearing Loss

There are three main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. Each type of hearing loss affects different parts of the ear. Being familiar with the differences between the types of hearing loss can help you easily identify what type of hearing loss you might be experiencing.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear or the nerve pathways are damaged. These parts of the ears are responsible for transmitting sound signals to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is often associated with aging and exposure to loud noises, but it can also be triggered by certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. 

If you have sensorineural hearing loss, you may find it challenging to hear high-pitched sounds and struggle to understand speech even in quiet environments.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When the sound waves are hindered from reaching the inner ear, you may have conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can be caused by a perforated eardrum, ear infections, or fluid buildup in the middle ear.

A person with conductive hearing loss may experience challenges hearing soft sounds or may find speech to be distorted or muffled.

Mixed Hearing Loss

As the name implies, mixed hearing loss is a blend of sensorineural and conductive hearing problems. You could have damage to both your outer, middle, and inner ear. 

What does mild hearing loss sound like?

Mild hearing loss can be challenging to detect in the early stages, as it involves just a slight reduction in your ability to hear certain sounds. 

Individuals with mild hearing loss may find it difficult to hear soft speech and sounds in crowded or noisy environments. They may also find it challenging to distinguish between certain consonant sounds, such as “th” and “s”.

Imagine listening to someone speaking in a small, quiet room with a soft-spoken voice. While you may be able to hear some parts of what they are saying, you may miss certain words or parts of sentences. It’s like a phone call with a choppy connection.

In a noisy environment, mild hearing loss may make it difficult to hear conversations overall. You may have difficulty understanding speech especially if multiple speakers are talking at the same time.

At a glance, mild hearing loss may not seem like a significant impairment, but in the long run, it can significantly affect one’s ability to communicate effectively.

Why it is important to determine the type of hearing loss

Since the ears are divided into three parts (inner, outer, and middle), determining the type and severity of the hearing loss is highly important to ensure that you are getting the best hearing improvement possible.

There are various ways to address hearing loss, from hearing aids, and cochlear implants, to assistive listening devices. Treatment for hearing loss ranges from hearing aids to surgical procedures, which will be dependent on the severity and type of hearing loss.

If you suspect you may have hearing loss, it is important to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. An audiologist can perform a hearing test to identify the type and severity of your hearing loss and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Audiologists in Longmont, CO

Audiologists at Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center can help address and diagnose hearing loss and other hearing concerns you may have.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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