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Hearing loss: what is it and types

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Over the years, the deterioration of certain functions is normal, and a very typical example of this is the loss of acuity of the different senses, particularly that of sight and, as we will explain below, also that of hearing. . Although it is considered normal within certain parameters, in other cases hearing loss can occur quickly, or be quite pronounced, to the point of altering the normal development of a person and affecting them beyond what could be considered normal . Hearing loss, also known as hearing loss, can have several different origins that can be identified based on the characteristics of the condition. We invite you to continue reading this FastlyHealarticle to learn more about hearing loss: what it is and types .

What is hearing loss

Hearing loss is the name given to hearing loss in one or both ears. It is a fairly common alteration and even normal to some extent when it is caused by the passage of time and the physical deterioration caused by age. However, not always when there is a hearing loss, it should be accepted as something normal, especially when it occurs suddenly. In fact, whenever you notice that your hearing capacity has decreased, you should arrange a visit with your ENT doctor to look for possible causes.

The intensity of this condition can vary from one person to another, as well as its origin, which gives rise to several classifications to facilitate its study. Below we will explain what the different types of hearing loss are, what each one causes and what their degree of severity is.

Causes of hearing loss: types

The ear is a complex organ made up of several parts that are divided into three sections, the outer, middle and inner ear. Depending on which section of the ear is affected and which organ is involved, hearing loss can be classified into three types :

  • Conduction hearing loss : are hearing loss in which sound is not able to pass from the outside to the inside of the ear to be transformed into nerve impulses and interpreted by the brain, due to an interruption in the sound path. It can be caused by obstructions , for example by objects , wax or abnormal growths in the ear, or by some alteration of the eardrum or the bones of the ear.
  • Perceptual hearing loss : in this case the sound can travel as far as it should go, but it cannot be transformed into nerve impulses due to some alteration in the internal organs of the ear or the cells that are responsible for generating nerve impulses. A gradual deterioration of these structures over the years is normal, but when it occurs quickly it is considered an abnormal condition.
  • Mixed hearing loss : in this case, the two situations , both conductive and perceptual hearing loss , are combined to aggravate the situation together.

Degrees of hearing loss: types

Depending on how fast the hearing loss progresses, the following types can be distinguished :

  • Stable : it is in which there is a hearing loss, but over the years it has not worsened. It is generally generated as a result of a particular event, such as a reaction to certain medications that stops advancing when it is withdrawn.
  • Progressive : the disturbance continues to advance over the years, usually at a set pace, be it slow or fast.
  • Rapidly progressive : similar to the previous one, but progressing particularly quickly, and hearing may be compromised after a few weeks or months.
  • Abrupt : hearing loss sets in immediately, followed by a particular event such as head trauma. Hearing loss occurs within a few minutes or hours.
  • Fluctuating : some disorders or pathologies of the ear can make hearing loss temporary but recur frequently, thus causing hearing to decrease and increase with some regularity.

Diagnosis of hearing loss

The study of hearing capacities is carried out by otorhinolaryngologists, who have at their disposal several instruments and tests that they can apply to determine the hearing capacity of their patients.

Generally, all patient examinations include an inspection of the ear with the use of an otoscope to determine if there is any physical obstruction in the ear canal. To determine the level of hearing, a test called audiometry is performed , which consists of creating auditory stimuli with pre-established levels of intensity, which must be perceived by the patient.

By correlating the clinical study of the ear, hearing ability, and the patient’s history, an otolaryngologist can determine the source of the hearing loss, its severity, and select the appropriate treatment .

Treatment for hearing loss

The treatment basically depends on the type of hearing loss according to their origin. The ones with the best prognosis are transmission hearing loss, since its treatment consists basically in restoring sound conduction by eliminating or correcting the element that blocks it. There are surgical procedures to solve the problem when it is due to perforation of the eardrum, alteration of the ear bones or congenital malformations of the ear canal.

On the other hand, perceptual hearing loss is more difficult to treat as it has a much more complex origin. Virtually all of these cases are irreversible and incorrigible, so the treatment consists of improving sound pick-up through the implementation of hearing aids and other similar devices.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hearing Loss: what it is and types , we recommend that you enter our Ear, Nose and Throat category .

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