Our hearing is connected to our overall health and wellbeing. In order to stay healthy it is important to have your hearing checked annually so you can be aware of any hearing loss. Hearing loss has been proven to lead to social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline. It is important to treat any hearing loss with hearing aids so you can continue to enjoy life and hear your best.
Hearing doesn’t only affect our ears, but our brains as well. We don’t hear sounds until they reach the auditory cortex portion of our brains. When you have hearing loss then you are missing certain sounds and lacking the ability to distinguish those sounds in conversation or in general. If the brain misses those certain sounds then it will no longer recognize them and became less active. This can lead to cognitive decline and dementia. It is important to keep your brain active and healthy by treating any type of hearing loss and getting hearing aids.
Hearing loss is complex, and there is more than one type of hearing loss as well as varying degrees. The three main types of hearing loss are sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss and is the result of a problem in the inner ear or auditory nerve. Sensorineural loss occurs when the hair-like cells in the cochlea or auditory nerve are damaged. As a result, the nerve sends weakened signals to the brain. Some common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include illnesses, drugs that are toxic to hearing, aging/genetics, head trauma, malformation of the inner ear, or loud noise exposure.
Conductive hearing loss is the result of a problem with the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. Conductive loss can usually be treated with medication or surgery. When it cannot be treated with either of those then hearing aids usually help. Some common causes of conductive hearing loss include fluid in the middle ear, ear infection, allergies, impacted earwax, perforated eardrums, benign tumors, swimmer's ear, foreign object in the ear, or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This occurs when there is damage to either the outer/middle ear and the inner ear or auditory nerve. Typically, the sensorineural portion is permeant while the conductive is temporary, as it is the result of an ear infection or wax build-up.