Although they get confused with some frequency, Hearing loss and deafness are not the same, but they are related. Hearing loss is a hearing problem that can cause hearing loss or partial deafness. However, it is important to note that this problem, in many cases, does not only affect hearing but also language development and communication skills. Next, we talk about the different types of hearing loss and how we can detect it. Keep reading!
What types of hearing loss are there and how to detect them?
In general terms, hearing loss can be distinguished into different types based on three variables. The first refers to whether the problem affects one or both ears; in this way, we can differentiate unilateral hearing loss and bilateral hearing loss.
In addition, a distinction is usually made based on the location of the injury or condition that causes the loss of hearing sensitivity. In this sense, we find four types of hearing loss:
- Neurosensory or perception: generally, it is located in the auditory nerve or in the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is irreversible and the patient tends to hear some frequencies more than others. Treatment consists of the use of hearing aids, and depending on the case, a cochlear implant may be necessary.
- Conductive or transmission: It mainly affects the mechanical part of the ear, that is, the outer or middle ear. In general, it happens due to an obstruction or underlying diseases, such as stapedial otosclerosis or tympanosclerosis.
- Mixed: it is diagnosed when there is sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This means that both the conductive organs (outer or middle ear) and the sensorineural system (inner ear and auditory nerve) are affected.
- Central: It is the least common type of hearing loss and occurs when there is damage to the auditory centers of the brain.
Different intensities of hearing loss in hearing loss
The third variable that allows us to classify different types of hearing loss is the intensity of the hearing loss. In this sense, hearing loss can be:
- Mild: the loss is between 20 and 40 dB. Generally, the person has difficulty hearing distant voices or in noisy environments.
- Medium / Moderate: when 40 to 70 dB is lost. Here, the individual already begins to show difficulties to carry out conversations normally.
- Severe: hearing loss is between 70 and 90 dB. Generally, the person can only hear loud sounds or voices with a distance of up to 30 cm.
- Deep: occurs when there is a hearing loss greater than 90 dB. In this degree of hearing loss, the individual usually hears only very loud ambient noises.
Causes and treatment of hearing loss
The most common causes of hearing loss are: wax build-up in the ear canal, aging, ear infections, and exposure to excessive noise. Nevertheless, the use of ototoxic medications and some congenital disorders can also increase the risk of hearing loss.
When identifying any difficulties hearing the sounds and the people around you, it is important to consult an ENT specialist. The sooner you start an appropriate treatment, the better you can control the progression of hearing loss.