What are the Most Common Hearing Ailments?

October 23, 2019

Hearing loss affects millions of people across the world. While it is often associated with older individuals, children and even babies can suffer from hearing loss. If you or someone you love is dealing with this medical problem, you should know about the most common hearing ailments.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

As the most common type of hearing ailment, sensorineural hearing loss is caused by nerve damage in the inner ear in which the tiny hairs within — known as cilia — may also suffer damage. It is a permanent type of hearing ailment and affects people of all ages. In some cases, a person may experience a loss of hearing over a period of years, but in other instances, someone with sensorineural hearing loss can lose hearing literally overnight. When this happens, it should be treated as an emergency and the individual should seek treatment immediately. If a sudden hearing loss is effectively treated in time, the loss can be reversed with a few days to a couple of weeks. Sensorineural hearing loss can affect a person’s ability to comprehend certain sounds or speech.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the outer or middle ear or the ear canal. It can be caused by an ear infection, a foreign object in the ear, an overabundance of earwax, allergies, fluid buildup, damage to the Eustachian tube or otosclerosis, a condition that results in bony growths forming in the middle ear. If you suffer from this type of hearing loss, you may notice more of a muffling of sounds rather than a difficulty in comprehending those sounds.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a common hearing ailment that involves a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. There may be some nerve damage to the inner ear as well as damage to the outer or middle ear that, together, contribute to the impairment.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Another common hearing ailment is noise-induced hearing loss. This can occur in people of all ages when they are exposed to extremely loud noises. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur even after a person has been exposed once in a short time. For instance, if someone is at a very loud concert and stands beside an amp or speaker without the protection of earplugs, they may experience this condition afterward. In some cases, the person’s normal level of hearing may return if the noise exposure is short-term. However, if someone is constantly exposed to extremely loud noises, the cilia can suffer permanent damage and the loss can also be permanent.

Just as with any other aspect of your health, it’s important to properly care for your hearing. Getting your hearing checked and seeing your ENT every year can ensure your best ear health.

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