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Hearing Loss

Contrary to popular belief, hearing loss isn’t age-specific. Hearing loss can happen to anyone, anywhere. In fact, today, more and more young people are experiencing hearing loss, with more than 50-million Americans experiencing some type of hearing loss.

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This hearing loss occurs when the inner ear has been damaged. Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
     
    • Ototoxic medications
    • Noise-induced hearing loss
    • Illnesses
    • Aging
    • Trauma a to the head
       
  • Conductive hearing loss: Conductive hearing occurs when sounds cannot get through the outer ear and middle ear. Individuals with conductive hearing loss often complain of muffled sounds. Causes of conductive hearing loss include:
     
    • Ear infections
    • Fluid in the middle ear from colds or allergies
    • Hole in the eardrum
    • Earwax blockage
       
  • Mixed hearing loss: As the name implies, mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss can occur in either one or both ears. 

Noise-induced hearing loss

One of the reasons hearing loss is so much more prevalent in younger generations today is due to an increase in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL is a type of sensorineural hearing loss that occurs due to prolonged exposure to loud noises that eventually damage the tiny hair cells that live within the cochlea of the inner ear. When those tiny hair cells die, they cannot be regenerated. These tiny hair cells are responsible for helping send the neural message to the brain, which picks them up and recognizes noise as sound. When there are fewer of these hairs, sound is more difficult to discern and transfer to the brain, and hearing loss occurs. 

Unilateral hearing loss

Many people tend to think that hearing loss always occurs in both ears. While this is generally the case, sometimes individuals are diagnosed with unilateral hearing loss. Unilateral hearing loss (UHL) is when an individual has normal hearing in one ear and hearing loss in the other ear. As with all other types of hearing loss, the hearing loss in unilateral hearing loss can range from mild to very severe, and it can occur in individuals of all ages, sex and race. 

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), some possible causes of UHL include:

  • Genetic or hereditary hearing loss
  • Abnormality of the outer, middle or inner ear
  • Some syndromes
  • Infections
  • Head injuries
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Traumatic brain injury 

At Physicians Hearing Center, we understand how hearing loss can impact your ability to communicate with the world around you. That’s why we offer a range of diagnosis and treatment options to ensure you tackle your hearing loss head-on.