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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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. If it is difficult for you to understand the conversation, hearing aids may be able to help.