There are more than 500 million people suffering from hearing loss worldwide. Hearing loss affects patients in many ways.Over time, it can lead to anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness. In children, it can result in behavioral problems, social problems, and academic challenges. Therefore, intervention for hearing loss must be done promptly to minimize its negative impact on patients.

If you think your hearing might be impaired, answering these questions is the right place to start:

  • Do others comment that the TV volume is too loud?

  • Can you hear the doorbell or the telephone ringing?

  • Do you have trouble following conversations in crowded or noisy settings?

  • Do people seem to mumble and not speak clearly during conversation?

  • Do people tell you that you speak too loudly?

  • Do you frequently ask people to repeat themselves?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is a chance that you may have some degree of hearing loss. We recommend that you have a hearing test done by an audiologist.

Conductive hearing loss (CHL)

 happens when a disorder limits the transmission of sound through the outer or middle ear. This hearing loss can usually be treated medically or surgically. If the hearing problem can’t be solved medically, a hearing instrument can provide sufficient hearing improvement

 

Types of hearing loss

The main function of the outer and middle ear is to boost the sound and conduct it to the inner ear, where the sensory cells are present within the sensory organ of hearing that is called “The cochlea”. These cells generate the neural signals that are transmitted through the auditory nerve and the central pathways to the brain.

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL)

Happens when the disorder affects the sensory cells within the cochlea or the neural pathways. In this case, sound transmission through the outer and middle ears is ok, but the inner ear and/or the neural pathways are less efficient in perceiving the signal. This type of hearing loss is usually due to damages to the sensory cells within the cochlea or damages to the fine nerve endings of the auditory nerve. These patients usually have difficulty with sound intensity and sound quality that might affect their ability to understand speech. Hearing aids are typically used for these patients. Modern technology in hearing aids doesn’t only help in amplifying the sound, but it does help also in improving the listening quality to maximize the speech understanding and experience more natural quality of hearing.

Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss is a term used to describe the simultaneous occurrence of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Treatment options for this type of hearing loss can include medical procedures and the use of hearing aids.

Degree of Hearing Loss

Different levels of hearing loss are referred to as degrees, depending on the severity of the loss.

Common causes of

hearing loss

There are many causes for

hearing loss such as:

  • Aging factors.

  • Noise exposure.

  • Head trauma.

  • Illnesses and some viral diseases.

  • Earwax.

  • Heredity factors.

  • Reaction to medications.

The Audiogram

An audiogram is used to record and display hearing thresholds, which are the softest levels at which a sound (or speech) is audible to the listener.

The top axis depicts frequency (or what we perceive as pitch). Frequency increases as moving from left to right. This ranges from low pitches (i.e., vowel sounds) to high pitches (i.e., consonant sounds such /S/, /SH/, /TH/ sounds). More specifically, the frequency range of 250 Hz through 8000 Hz is tested during a typical hearing evaluation. These frequencies are most important for speech because most speech sounds fall somewhere within this frequency range.

 

The side axis depicts intensity (or what we perceive as loudness). Intensity increases as moving from top to bottom. This ranges from soft sounds (i.e., a whisper) to very loud sounds (i.e., a jet engine). "Normal hearing" refers to hearing thresholds at or below 20 dB. In other words, if a sound is present at 0 - 20 dB, normal hearing individuals should hear it. If the person needs more volume than 20 dB to hear the sound, then some degree of hearing loss can be present.