Understanding Hearing Loss

Over 48 Million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss

Hearing Loss Conditions

Unlike optical solutions which can add a second lens in front of your eyes to  fix how light is directed to your eyes for clear vision, most types of hearing loss relate to the ability of both your ear and brain to make sense of and interpret the sounds around you.

For that reason, there is no physical fix that gives you back perfect "20/20" hearing. That also means hearing loss is very personal and customized for each individual.

What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

Conductive hearing loss happens when the sounds you hear are unable to reach the inner ear. This can sometimes happen due to common, easily rectified problems such as:

-  wax build up inside the ear
-  an ear infection
-  fluid in the ear
-  other medical conditions

There can also be mechanical issues with the eardrum or bones in the middle ear. This kind of conductive hearing loss requires something more than standard medical treatments such as medication.

The good news is that conductive hearing loss can be temporary and may have several treatment options, including medication, surgery, and hearing aids. Your doctor will determine what solution is best for you. If hearing aids are an option, your audiologist can help you choose the best hearing aid for your needs and lifestyle.

What Causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the brain does not receive a full or clear signal from the ear. The parts of the ear that receive sound and the nerves that lead from the ear to the brain may be not be working properly. This impacts the ability of your ear and brain to make sense of the sounds around you.

Determining the exact cause of sensorineural hearing loss can be difficult, and it can be hard to treat. That means the degree of sensorineural hearing loss is very personal and unique to each person.

In rare cases, sensorineural hearing issues can be treated with medicine or surgery. If the cause of sensorineural hearing loss can be treated, your Hearing Healthcare Professional may be able to address those issues and recommend treatment. Often, however, the impacts of sensorineural hearing loss are irreversible and permanent. When this is the case, hearing aids can be a viable solution to help people gain back some of the sounds they have been missing.

In every case, it is best to consult with a qualified and trusted audiologist to determine what type of hearing aid might help you with your specific type of hearing loss. HearingPlanet is here to help you begin that process.

Our expert team of Personal Hearing Consultants can discuss your personal needs and help you find trusted sources to diagnose and treat your hearing loss.

How Does High Frequency Hearing Loss Affect Conversations?

The most important sounds are the speech sounds of those around you. The various consonant and vowel sounds of our speech alphabet resonate at different frequencies and tones. If those frequencies are in a range that is more challenging to hear, then your brain can end up “guessing” what the speech sound is, rather than hearing it clearly. Many people have difficulty hearing higher frequency sounds such as “s,” “ch,” “th,” “f,” and “z.” Background noises can add a further challenge to the correct interpretation of the speech signals.

For example, with a high frequency hearing loss, the phrase “I went to the show yesterday” can end up being heard as “I went to the show yesterday,” leaving the brain to guess at the missing sounds based on the context of the conversation. And if a phrase like this is said by a high-pitch voice, like a female or child, the number of speech sounds needed to be guessed at increases.

What Does Sudden Hearing Loss Feel Like?

Just as it sounds, sudden hearing loss can occur in one or both ears. It can happen overnight or occur over a period of hours or days. For many people, sudden hearing loss resembles hearing loss from earwax buildup or blockage of the ears from a bad cold. It can feel like the ear is clogged up, cause a dizzy sensation, and result in tinnitus or ringing in the ears.

Sudden hearing loss or sudden deafness should be diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Sudden hearing loss most often occurs between the ages of 40-50, but people of any age can experience it. The sooner you seek treatment, the better.

That’s why it is best to immediately consult a Hearing Healthcare Professional who can help you determine if your condition is temporary due to inflammation or blockage of the ear. Both are conditions that can be treated with medication.

HearingPlanet is here to help you find a local hearing specialist who can diagnose and recommend treatment.

What Does Mix Hearing Loss Mean to Me?

In some cases, two different sources of hearing loss can combine to create a condition known as mixed hearing loss. This happens when there is disruption in the outer or middle ear, but the inner ear is being affected in some way as well. When sounds cannot reach the ear properly and are not processed correctly, the two conditions need to be diagnosed and treated. To treat these conditions, it’s important to meet with a Hearing Care Professional who can diagnose your condition and prescribe the right approach. HearingPlanet can provide you with excellent hearing specialists in your area.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, lifestyle, budget, and preferences, we will connect you with a local Hearing Healthcare Professional to help you. In combination with possible medical treatment for conductive hearing loss, hearing aids can enhance your ability to communicate, interact, experience, and fully enjoy the sounds around you.

What is Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a type of hearing loss that’s preventable, but it still affects about 15% of Americans of almost all ages. It's one of the most common occupational health conditions in the country and, according to the National Institutes of Health, even affects teen-agers 12-19 years old. NIHL is caused by constant exposure to loud noise, whether from loud machinery at work, recreation activities such snowmobiling or shooting sports, listening to loud music, or from frequent activities. Using loud mowers, leaf-blowers, or chain saws can bring on noise-induced hearing loss. Even an unexpected sudden loud noise, like an explosion or a blast of sound can result in noise-induced hearing loss.

It is important to protect your hearing when possible, because noise-induced hearing loss is often permanent and irreversible. If you have experienced a noise-induced hearing loss, it is important to visit a hearing specialist to determine the degree to which hearing has been lost.

HearingPlanet is here to help you find a hearing specialist to diagnose your condition and recommend proper treatment.

What Causes Unilateral Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss in one ear is known as unilateral hearing loss. It can be caused by a blockage in the ear, physical trauma, exposure to excessive noise, or a disease that affects the ear. But you don’t have to live it. Hearing specialists can conduct tests to determine the actual cause of unilateral hearing loss. From that point it may be possible to recommend treatment and explore the potential benefits of using a hearing aid. If your unilateral hearing loss comes on quickly, it is always best to consult your medical doctor.

If you are experiencing difficulties understanding speech even in normal listening conditions, or struggling to hear clearly in noisy situations or group conversations, there may be a hearing loss in one of your ears.

At HearingPlanet, our job is to help you find an audiologist who can test your hearing and help you establish the source and treatment for your unilateral hearing loss.