What Is Mixed Hearing Loss & How Is It Treated?
Hearing loss affects approximately 48 million Americans. Yet despite its prevalence, only about one in five people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wears them. This can have devastating effects on physical and mental health, as left untreated, hearing loss is associated with depression, anxiety, falls and dementia.
While some types of hearing loss, like mixed hearing loss, are more complex to treat, an audiologist can provide the best care for your unique needs.
What Is Mixed Hearing Loss?
Mixed hearing loss is characterized by both sensorineural and conducive hearing loss being present at once.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by nerve damage. Within the inner ear is the cochlea, which is lined with tiny hair cells called stereocilia. The stereocilia convert soundwaves into electrical energy that travels via the auditory nerve to the brain where it is interpreted as sound. When the stereocilia become damaged, usually due to loud noise exposure or poor blood flow, they do not regenerate.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is caused by some sort of blockage in the outer or middle ear. Potential causes include:
- Impacted earwax
- Middle ear infection
- Ruptured eardrum
- Benign tumor
- Foreign object in the ear canal
- Swimmer’s ear
- Congenital deformity
How Is Mixed Hearing Loss Treated?
Mixed hearing loss usually requires a combination of treatments to address both the sensorineural and conductive losses. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants, while conductive hearing loss is treated by addressing the underlying problem.
What Are the Symptoms of Mixed Hearing Loss?
Consider the following questions:
- Do you have trouble hearing over the phone?
- Do you hear better in one ear than the other?
- Do you have trouble following conversations in background noise like at Table 32?
- Do you strain to understand what people are saying?
- Do you frequently ask people to repeat what they said?
- Do people complain you turn up the TV too loud?
- Do people seem to mumble all the time?
- Do you experience dizziness or tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have mixed hearing loss and should schedule an evaluation right away.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Nelson Hearing Clinics today.