There are three main types of hearing loss. The most common and most treatable is called sensorineural hearing loss. It occurs when the auditory nerve or tiny hair-like cells in the inner ear have been damaged. The damage weakens or stops the transfer of signals to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, but usually treatable with hearing aids. In fact, more than 90 percent of hearing aid wearers have a sensorineural hearing loss.
There are a number of causes behind sensorineural hearing loss. The most common causes include aging, prolonged exposure to loud noise, ototoxic medication, poor blood circulation and exposure to diseases like mumps or meningitis.
A sensorineural hearing loss is easily diagnosed with a hearing test. You should have your hearing tested if you experience any of the following:
- Trouble following conversations in groups
- Conversations sound muffled
- Trouble hearing in background noise
- Difficulty hearing women and children
- Dizziness or balance issues
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
Although scientists are working on ways to regrow or repair the tiny hair-like cells of the inner ear, there is currently no way to reverse hearing loss. However, most people with sensorineural hearing loss can be successfully treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants. An Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist can test your hearing in each ear and tell you if you have a sensorineural hearing loss that is treatable. They will use your hearing test to further categorize your hearing loss as a ski slope, low frequency loss, high frequency loss or cookie bite. This will help them determine what kind of hearing aid is best for your loss and give them a guideline for how to program your hearing aid to get you hearing again.
If you think you may be suffering from any type of hearing loss, call the Southwestern Hearing Center near you and schedule your complimentary hearing test. It is quick and painless and will get you on the road to better hearing and a healthier life.