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Do I have Hearing Loss

ACNA.Do I have Hearing Loss

Do I have Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a condition that can develop very gradually, often over the course of many years. Usually the person affected does not realize a hearing loss exists until it begins to cause problems with how they communicate, or their loved ones urge them to seek help. If a hearing loss is detected, early intervention will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. At the Audiology Clinic of Northern Alberta we recommend a hearing assessment every one to two years, as part of your regular check-up. Your clinician will review your previous test results, medical history, noise exposure and conduct a communication assessment to determine if a problem with your hearing is developing. If you are bothered by tinnitus, our tinnitus assessment will provide additional information.

Hearing Loss is Common and Affects All Age Groups

Hearing loss is an issue many Canadians are dealing with on a daily basis. One out of every ten Canadians, of all ages, is living with some form of hearing loss; it affects half of people over 65. 7 out of 10 people with a hearing loss are under the age of 60. The professionals at the Audiology Clinic of Northern Alberta have dedicated themselves to reducing the negative effects of hearing loss; we use our expertise to find the most appropriate technology and treatment options available to improve our patients’ quality of life, regardless of their age.

Hearing Loss Comes in Different Forms

Another important fact to remember is that not all hearing loss is the same. Many effective treatments have been designed to reduce effects of the various forms of hearing loss.

The following are descriptions of different types of hearing loss and their associated conditions.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss results from an inner ear disorder. We refer to a sensorineural hearing loss when the hair cells, neural fibers or their connections to the cochlea are damaged or do not function optimally.

If part of the inner ear is damaged, the ability to transform mechanical energy into the electrical energy that is sent to the brain is lost or reduced.

Characteristic signs of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Difficulties hearing sounds, especially soft sounds
  • Difficulties distinguishing and differentiating among sounds, even loud sounds
  • Low level sounds are perceived to be far too soft, and high level sounds too loud
  • Often accompanied by tinnitus

Causes of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Aging
  • Noise-induced hearing impairment
  • Heredity, congenital
  • Illness or medicine

Hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve paths cannot be treated surgically or medically. Many people with sensorineural loss can, however, benefit from hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss

When sound is not conducted optimally through the outer or middle ear, the result is a conductive hearing loss. The specific hearing loss can originate in the outer ear, ear canal, eardrum, ossicles (middle ear bones) or a combination of these.

A conductive hearing impairment usually gives rise to a mild to moderate hearing loss. The loss can affect all frequencies relatively uniformly or be especially pronounced in the low-frequency region.

Causes of conductive hearing loss:

  • Ear wax completely blocking the ear canal
  • Inflammation of the middle ear
  • Perforation of the eardrum
  • Otosclerosis
  • Fracture in the chain of ossicles
  • Deformity of the outer ear

Most conductive hearing losses can be treated medically or surgically, for example when the hearing loss is caused by inflammation of the middle ear.

When surgical or medical intervention is not an option, people with conductive hearing loss can often be helped with hearing aids.

Mixed hearing loss

When a portion of the hearing loss is sensorineural and a portion is conductive, it is referred to as a mixed hearing loss.