Can Hearing Loss Be Reversed?

Last update on Jan, 06, 2021

Determining whether or not hearing loss can be reversed is dependent on a number of different factors, including what type of hearing loss you are experiencing. There are a number of different types of hearing loss, and they occur for different reasons and affect individuals differently. Let’s take a look at the different types of hearing loss and the treatment options that are available.

Sensorineural hearing loss

The most common type of hearing loss to affect otherwise healthy adults is called sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear, most often the snail-shaped organ called the cochlea and associated structures, or the neural pathways that deliver information to the brain from the ears. Sensorineural hearing loss can have a number of different root causes. It can be genetic or acquired, meaning it comes about for a reason other than your genetics. It can be present at birth, but it is more likely to develop over time. Age-related hearing loss is the most common type of this category of hearing loss, but it can occur due to a number of different factors. These include exposure to overly loud noises, head trauma, and numerous medical conditions among others. Sensorineural hearing is most often irreversible and permanent, but it is highly treatable.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is an issue with the middle or the outer ear, creating a barrier to sound waves that otherwise would travel to the inner ear for processing. The causes of conductive hearing loss, usually, are attributable to some problem with the physical structure of the middle or outer ear. Some of the more common issues that result in conductive hearing loss include impacted ear wax, the buildup of fluid in the middle ear, ruptured ear drums, and others. Some types of conductive hearing loss are reversible, but even if the loss is permanent there are a number of treatment options available.

Mixed hearing loss

Hearing loss that is the result of both sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss is known as mixed hearing loss. That means with mixed hearing loss there is both damage to the outer or middle ear’s ability to conduct sound waves towards the inner ear and the inner ear or auditory nerve’s ability to process sound data. Depending on the underlying causes of mixed hearing loss, it is possible that some portions of the loss can be medically treated and reversed while others are likely to persist.

The causes and types of hearing loss are many and varied. If you or a loved one have been experiencing the symptoms of hearing loss it is important to get an examination from a hearing specialist as soon as possible. With over 1,500 locations across the US, it’s easy to find a Miracle-Ear provider near you and book a free hearing assessment. Our hearing specialists will be able to determine the type of hearing loss you are experiencing and explore your best treatment options. While a number of different types of hearing loss are permanent and irreversible, there are still a number of interventions available that may lessen the severity of your symptoms. 

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Treatments for hearing loss

Treatment for sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss can vary greatly. Depending on the type of hearing loss you are experiencing, the underlying causes, and the severity of the loss, there are a number of treatment options available. A Miracle-Ear hearing specialist will be able to discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of your options and help guide you to the right hearing solution for you.

Earwax removal

Some conductive hearing loss is caused by a buildup of ear wax that disrupts your ability to channel sound towards the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is usually reversible with a simple procedure to remove the blockage.

Surgical procedures

Some types of hearing loss can be treated through surgical intervention, like abnormalities of the ear drum or the small bones in your ear. Your hearing specialist will be able to tell you if your hearing loss is treatable with a surgical procedure.

Hearing aids

One of the most popular forms of treatment for hearing loss is the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids are pieces of medical equipment that are atuned to address your unique form of hearing loss. After a detailed hearing exam, a Miracle-Ear hearing specialist will work with you to precisely configure your hearing aid to meet your needs. 

Implants

If you experience severe hearing loss and would have only a limited gain from conventional hearing aids, there are implant options that may be appropriate for you. These implants bypass damaged parts of the ear to conduct sound more directly to the nerves responsible for transporting sound information to our brains.

While many types of hearing loss are, unfortunately, permanent and irreversible, there are still many different treatment options available. Hearing aids and other interventions can greatly improve the amount of hearing you experience and improve your overall quality of life.  

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