Types & Symptoms of Hearing Loss

The onset of hearing loss symptoms can be subtle and occur over time or come about suddenly and be more easily noticeable. You may need to see an audiologist for a hearing screening if you experience any of the following signs of hearing loss.

Common Signs of Hearing Loss
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  • Having to listen to the television or radio at a higher volume than usual
  • Difficulty understanding conversations over the phone
  • Trouble deciphering conversations that involve multiple people
  • Difficulty hearing in noisy, crowded environments
  • Saying “huh” or “what” a lot

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

According to the American Academy of Audiology, more than 36 million Americans suffer from sensorineural hearing loss, a type of hearing impairment caused by damage to the inner ear or nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. This type of hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in older adults after high blood pressure and arthritis, respectively. This type of hearing loss often cannot be reversed. Hearing aids are usually very helpful for this type of loss.  

Some of the causes for this type of hearing loss include:
  • Presbyacusis (Age-related hearing loss)
  • Exposure to loud noises over time
  • Exposure to a sudden and unexpected loud noise
  • Head injury
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Use of certain medicines or drugs
  • Meniere's disease
  • Childhood infections, such as meningitis, mumps, scarlet fever, and measles

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss happens when sound is not carried through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones of the middle ear. This type of hearing loss typically results in a marked decrease in the ability to hear faint sounds. 

Mixed Hearing Loss

In some cases, a conductive hearing loss occurs in conjunction with a sensorineural hearing loss. When this happens, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. 

Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss happens very quickly and requires immediate medical attention to determine its cause and treatment.  If you experience sudden hearing loss, you should contact your doctor immediately. The physicians at Harbin Clinic ENT are also available to evaluate the causes of sudden hearing loss and can be reached at 762-235-2300.