Types of Hearing Loss

Like vision, hearing exists across a wide spectrum. Where you are on that spectrum depends on a host of factors – from genetics to age to lifestyle. Even medication can negatively impact your ability to hear.

And quite often, close friends and family are the first ones to notice that you may be missing parts of conversations.

At The Hearing Solution, we custom design treatment solutions that are both:

  • Specific to the type of hearing loss you’re facing.
  • Unique to your current lifestyle, goals, and challenges.

Below are the 3 most common types of hearing loss – and how we treat them in our office.

1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Those suffering from sensorineural hearing loss often complain about:

  • Lack of speech clarity when speaking with others.
  • Dropped words – especially at the end of sentences.
  • Difficulty hearing when there is background noise.

Our comprehensive treatment solutions for sensorineural hearing loss include the following.

First, we conduct a detailed evaluation of your entire auditory system – complete with hearing, speech, otoacoustic emissions, and middle ear testing.

Thereafter, we run a functional hearing assessment to test your auditory system’s ability to process words and speech in noisy background environments. This “real world” testing allows us to pinpoint the exact source of your hearing loss and the most appropriate corrective solution.

If hearing aids are recommended, this functional hearing assessment also allows us to determine which technology, manufacturer, and level of customization delivers the greatest improvement for the user. Again, we simulate real world situations to help you see how each hearing aid performs in background noise.

However, our treatment solutions don’t stop there:

  • If you choose one of our wireless hearing aid options, we can help you configure any Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids in your home, car, and office.
  • We provide a hearing loop and installation in your home to connect you wirelessly to your television 
  • All of our patients receive auditory training to help them strengthen their brains’ neural networks and their ears’ ability to process sound. These exercises are highly recommended – whether you use hearing aids or not.
  • We provide follow-up care, complete with additional screening and hearing aid reprogramming to help you get the most out of your treatment solution.

2. Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is when the problem causing the hearing loss resides in the middle ear or ear canal. With this type of hearing loss, we simply provide adequate amplification to correct for the blockage of sound getting to the inner ear or cochlea. 

Treating conductive hearing loss is much easier than treating sensorineural hearing loss because the problem is simply a volume issue (not a clarity issue). With the use of amplification, you can hear close to normal with proper treatment of conductive hearing loss. Treating conductive hearing loss is similar to correcting a vision loss with glasses. When we meet the prescription appropriately, you can hear more clearly and easily. 

3. Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is the least common type of hearing loss and is the combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. 

First, we must provide adequate volume to correct for the conductive component. Then, we focus on improving the clarity of words. This takes a lot of skill and experience from the audiologist

What About Tinnitus?

If you suffer from tinnitus, it’s very common to experience “high pitch” ringing or other noises in the ears. The intensity of these sounds can vary considerably – from mild, temporary annoyances to constant, loud ringing that can’t be ignored.

Note that tinnitus hearing loss isn’t a standalone condition. Instead, it is usually symptomatic of a larger issue such as:

  • Damage to the inner ear
  • Overexposure to loud noises
  • Adverse effects of certain medications
  • Age

While there is no known cure for tinnitus loss, our patients do find relief. But with our holistic treatment approach, this condition is manageable. Our goal is to turn bothersome tinnitus into non-bothersome tinnitus. Often times, we are able to push the tinnitus out of your conscious awareness completely. 

Our treatment begins with a complete hearing evaluation that includes both comprehensive audiologic evaluation and otoacoustic emissions testing. We also pitch match and loudness match your tinnitus. Based on these examinations, we recommend the most appropriate hearing aid or other management system. Equally important, we carefully customize your hearing aid to address the specific challenges that tinnitus sufferers face.

Is Hearing Loss Linked to Dementia?

Recent research has uncovered a link between hearing loss and a 40% increase in the risk of dementia. Dr. Frank Lin, one of the pioneering audiologists behind this research, discovered that,

“[H]earing loss is independently associated with poorer cognitive functioning on nonverbal tests of memory and executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, the risk of developing dementia, and accelerated rates of brain atrophy.”

His team settled what many had suspected for years – that even a mild hearing loss can change the physical and neurological structure of the brain. According to Lin, “When a person needs to strain to listen to a very garbled message through the ear, it over taxes the brain.”

When addressing hearing loss dementia, our treatment focuses on:

  • Early intervention to identify the scope of the problem as quickly as possible.
  • Ongoing counseling – both through one-on-one consultations and monthly group meetings.
  • Carefully selected and customized hearing aid hearing aids and hearing loops – if applicable.

In addition, we provide all of our patients with ear and brain training to help them improve their:

  • Auditory memory
  • Ability to distinguish fine sounds
  • Speed of Processing Words and Sentences

Auditory Training is also recommended if you have a hearing loss but aren't ready for hearing aids.

Have More Questions about Hearing Loss Types and Treatments?

Although the above represent the most common types of hearing loss, we specialize in the full range of auditory treatments and counseling.

To learn how we can help you overcome your hearing loss challenges, schedule a consultation with us today.

To learn how we can help you overcome your hearing loss challenges, schedule a consultation with us today.


Hearing Loss Faqs

Will my hearing get worse?

The typical hearing loss that occurs with age is called presbycusis. This type of hearing loss develops slowly and gradually over time. This process starts in most cases in our 20’s, but its loss is so gradual that it does not affect our ability to communicate until we are in our 50’s and older. This type of loss will continue to get worse slowly over time.

Other less common types of hearing loss such as sudden hearing loss caused by an autoimmune disorder, barotrauma, viral disease, noise damage or ototoxicity occur suddenly and will not change. Conductive hearing losses differ in the location of the disorder and the severity. This type of loss is typically treated surgically and the residual hearing loss that may occur may be helped with hearing aids.

A loss that is congenital will not change significantly over time.