According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 20 percent of all Americans suffer from some type of hearing loss. While the most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss, which over 90 percent of people diagnosed with hearing loss suffer from, there are three more rare types of hearing loss that everyone needs to know about.
Once you learn the symptoms of the less common types of hearing loss, you may realize that they mysterious symptoms you are suffering from actually signal that you are experiencing hearing loss.
Read on to learn more about the four main types of hearing loss recognized today.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the hair cells or nerves in your inner ear become damaged. The most common causes of this type of hearing loss are old age and repeated exposure to loud noises, although certain diseases and head trauma can also cause it.
The symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss often include hearing muffled speech and the need to turn up the volume on virtually any audio device in your life. These "classic" hearing loss symptoms lead to those developing sensorineural hearing loss (or their family members) typically realizing they are suffering from hearing loss and not another physical problem.
This type of hearing loss is relatively easy to diagnose, and many hearing aid options can improve the quality of life of those suffering from sensorineural hearing loss.
Auditory Processing Disorder
Unlike sensorineural hearing loss, those suffering from auditory processing disorder typically have healthy ears. However, the electrical signals the ears send to the brain during the hearing process become distorted. This leads to difficulty distinguishing the difference between similar sounds.
Common APD symptoms in adults include difficulty following television shows, even when the volume is adequate; difficulty following directions; and even memory problems. APD is often misdiagnosed as ADHD in children, so if you have struggled with these symptoms and were once diagnosed with ADHD, then realize you may truly suffer from APD. However, the two conditions can also occur hand-in-hand.
Since auditory processing disorder has so many varying symptoms, treatment typically consists of a combination of therapies that treat the sufferer's main problems to help them live a normal life. However, hearing aids can help sufferers of auditory processing disorder with their hearing problems.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot pass through the outer and/or middle ear to reach the inner ear. The symptoms of this type of hearing loss generally include sounds becoming muffled and quieter.
Thankfully, many of the causes of conductive hearing loss are temporary and easy to treat, such as ear infections, a build-up of ear wax, or fluid build up in the inner ear due to a cold. However, some cases of conductive hearing loss are caused by deformed ear canals or a benign tumor of the inner ear.
Treatment of conductive hearing loss typically relies on treating the temporary cause, although hearing aids are helpful in permanent cases.
Hidden Hearing Loss
A new type of hearing loss, called hidden hearing loss, was discovered just six years ago. Its main symptom is trouble hearing in a loud environment, and this condition is typically caused by exposure to loud noises or damage to the auditory nerves of the ears.
While its main symptom also occurs in other types of hearing loss, what sets hidden hearing loss apart is that sufferers typically pass audiogram tests in the offices of audiologists, which is a test very commonly used to diagnose hearing loss.
Thankfully, a new test has been developed to diagnose hidden hearing loss that measures a person's ability to detect changes in loudness in two different sounds projected into each ear. If you think you suffer from hearing loss, yet have passed hearing tests in the past, then request a hidden hearing loss test from your audiologist. You can treat this condition with various types of hearing aids.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from hearing loss, then contact the House of Hearing for an expert diagnosis and hearing loss treatment.