Figures indicate that one out of seven individuals suffer from some degree of hearing loss and one out of ten hears so poorly that a hearing instrument would help.
The degree of hearing loss varies from person to person Between the two extremes of hearing well and hearing nothing, there are many degrees of impairment. The terms used to describe the degree of hearing loss are mild, moderate, severe and profound. Most hearing losses are mild to moderate.
What does the degree of hearing loss mean?
Mild hearing loss: unable to hear soft sounds, difficulty understanding speech clearly in noisy environments.
Moderate hearing loss: unable to hear soft and moderately loud sounds, considerable difficulty understanding speech, particularly with background noise.
Severe hearing loss: some loud sounds are audible but communication without a hearing instrument is impossible.
Profound hearing loss: some extremely loud sounds are audible but communication without a hearing instrument is impossible.
Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
Occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the ear canal, ear drum or middle ear. Some causes of conductive hearing loss include:
Infection of the ear canal or middle ear
Fluid in the middle ear
Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
Dislocation of the ossicles (three middle-ear bones)
Foreign objects in the ear canal
Unusual growths, tumors
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or hearing nerve in the brain.
Some causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
Aging – gradual age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis
Excessive exposure to loud noise
Viral or bacterial infections
Mixed Hearing Loss
Occurs when there is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive issues. In other words, both the middle ear and inner ear are affected.
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