Hearing loss can have a serious negative impact on your life, causing you to feel depressed, frustrated, distrusting of others and generating feelings of being socially marginalized. One of the main reasons that hearing loss causes these feelings, is because many misunderstand the causes and signs, and, as a result, do not seek treatment.
In fact, statistics from the Hearing Foundation of Canada found that out of three million Canadians who have hearing loss, only one in six wear hearing aids. This means that more than 80 percent of hearing impaired Canadians have not sought out treatment for their hearing loss.
The first step to successful treatment, is first learning about hearing loss and the various causes and signs that come along with it.
Did you know there are three main types of hearing loss? Conductive, sensorineural and mixed hearing loss.
- Conductive hearing loss - Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with one or more of the parts of the ear - including the ear canal, eardrum and the tiny bones (called the ossicles) in the middle ear - that conduct sound into the inner ear.
- Sensorineural hearing loss - Sensorineural hearing loss refers to any reduction in hearing sensitivity or sound clarity that is caused by damage to the delicate structures of the inner ear or the nerve pathways that carry the sound signal from the inner ear to the auditory processing area of the brain. It’s the most common type of hearing loss.
- Mixed hearing loss - This is the combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss in the same ear at the same time. This means there’s damage in the outer or middle ear, as well as to the inner ear.
In this blog we will focus on mixed hearing loss, looking at how it is caused, what the signs are and how it can be treated.
How is mixed hearing loss caused?
The causes of mixed hearing loss can vary wildly, although in most cases the sensorineural hearing loss is already present and the conductive hearing loss develops for an unrelated reason at a later date. In fact, very rarely can conductive hearing loss cause sensorineural hearing loss.
A medical evaluation is needed to find the specific cause of any hearing loss, but age, combined with other factors such as frequent exposure to loud noise, genetic predisposition or certain medications can lead to a person suffering from mixed hearing loss.
Other causes of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss include birth defects, diseases, infections, tumors and concussion.
What are the signs of mixed hearing loss?
Signs of mixed hearing loss can depend on how serious it is, and whether you are suffering more from conductive or sensorineural hearing loss.
One of the most prominent signs of hearing loss is the inability to hear people clearly, particularly when in environments with loud background noise such as restaurants.
Other signs include having to frequently ask people to repeat themselves, struggling to understand people even though they seem like they're talking loud enough and avoiding social situations because you are constantly straining to hear.
How can it be treated?
There are a range of different treatment options for mixed hearing loss, which depend on how severe your hearing loss is. These solutions could include medications, surgery, hearing aids or an implantable bone conduction hearing system.
In most cases, those who suffer from a mixed hearing loss will receive medical treatment for their conductive hearing loss but will have to use hearing aids to treat the remaining sensorineural component of their hearing loss.
Hearing aid solutions will be able to help everything from mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss.
In some cases, surgery may be the answer to the conductive portion of the mixed hearing loss - although hearing aids will still be needed to treat the sensorineural portion of the hearing loss.
Worried you may be experiencing hearing loss of any kind? A hearing treatment expert in Ontario, Canada, such as York Hearing Clinic, will be able to identify the potential causes of your symptoms and create a tailor-made solution that significantly improves your quality of life.