Types of Hearing Loss
Your hearing is so important to your overall health & wellbeing, contributing to your safety, balance, work and social life. Hearing loss is emerging as one of the biggest health issues effecting older people around the world today. As we live & work longer, our ability to hear is crucial to our mental health, well-being & quality of life.
The HSE estimates that one in every 6 people in Ireland – Over 700,000 people – suffer from some form of every hearing loss. For people aged 60 & over, this figure rises to one in three. For people aged 70 & over this figure rises again to one in two. Most people wait, on average, for 10 years from the time they realise they have a hearing problem until they actually do something about it.
There are many reasons why you may acquire a hearing loss including getting older (presbycusis), exposure to loud noise, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, genetic causes, chronic ear infections or ototoxic medications. Whatever the reason, if you suspect you have a problem, you should get it checked out for the sake of your overall health and wellbeing.
There are three types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural hearing loss
Hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear or hearing nerve itself. The most common type of hearing loss we see in our clinics in adults. This type of hearing loss is irreversible but can be rehabilitated well with hearing aids.
- Conductive hearing loss
Hearing loss due to a blockage in the middle ear because external sound cannot travel down to the inner ear. The blockage may be due to fluid, infection or a bone abnormality. This type of hearing loss is very common in children and can often be treated.
- Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing losses.