Hearing loss is a surprisingly common problem that effects the lives of Americans. There is an estimated 20% of the population or 48 million Americans with hearing loss. After the age of 65, one in three people have some form of hearing loss. There are multiple types of hearing loss that individuals can have.
Types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This is the most common form of hearing loss and is commonly referred to as hearing loss at the nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused from noise exposure, genetics, untreated infections, head trauma and more.
Conductive Hearing Loss: This hearing loss is caused by infection or malformation of the ear. Conductive hearing losses are common with ear infections that cause fluid to stay in the ear. This hearing loss can also be from excess bone growth in the ear, wax build up, or a malformation of the ear canal.
Mixed Hearing Loss: A mixed hearing loss is when you have a combination of both a sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.
Retrocochlear Hearing Loss: This is a hearing loss that stems from beyond the hearing organ. This can be a lesion of the brainstem or a tumor growing around the nerve.
It is important to have your hearing evaluated by a qualified Audiologist. This will ensure that you receive the proper diagnosis and undergo an appropriate treatment plan.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
There are 5 degrees of hearing loss. Hearing loss can range from normal to profound and will vary by pitch or frequency. Men tend to have lower pitch voices while women and children have higher pitch voices. Hearing loss may make understanding a gender or age more difficult depending and individual’s hearing loss.
When to Check Your Hearing
Yearly. If you haven’t had your hearing checked in at least a year then its time for a check. Hearing loss may seem like it can wait but there have been a multitude of studies that show early intervention on hearing loss will keep your brain active and help you maintain your ability to understand friends and family. Checking your hearing every year will ensure that your hearing is stable. As you age it is natural for your hearing to diminish and tracking this is a very important step.
Preventing Hearing Loss
Avoiding loud situations is the best prevention of hearing loss. The rule of thumb is:
- If the noise around you is loud enough that you need to raise your voice for someone to understand you, then you may be causing damage to your hearing.
This includes lawn mowers, weed wackers, hammering, saws, loud concerts, firing weapons and much more.