Hearing loss is a disability that currently affects more than 48 million, or 20% of, Americans.1 There are essentially two types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural. Many times, both types are present in a combination known as mixed hearing loss. Patients can present with varying degrees of this combination.
Conductive hearing loss can be due to infections or trauma in the outer or middle ear. This is the more frequent type in children. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs due to damage to the inner ear or to the hearing nerve. SNHL is the more frequent type in adults.2
Through a complete hearing evaluation, an audiologist can determine both the type and the degree of hearing loss. Your audiologist will then work with your physician, preferably an ENT specialist, to determine a diagnosis and the best management for you.
Hearing aids can help you understand speech and put you back in contact with your family, friends, and coworkers. Hearing aids can also be a safety measure, particularly when environmental sound awareness is important. Improving your hearing can help make you feel confident and relaxed, rather than isolated and frustrated, in social gatherings. While no hearing aid can fully restore normal hearing, it can make a significant improvement.