Hearing Loss Overview

Hearing Loss Overview

Hearing loss is more common than you expect. Significant hearing loss affects 48 million Americans, roughly 15% of the total population. Despite being one of the most prevalent chronic health concerns this country faces, hearing loss is under-acknowledged as a health issue. Untreated hearing loss contributes to cognitive problems, mental health issues, social isolation and a decline in quality of life.

Fortunately, most hearing loss can be treated effectively. Recognizing the signs of hearing loss and seeking treatment early can improve your responsiveness to treatment and prevent hearing issues from worsening. Have you noticed recent changes to the way you hear? Do you think you may have some issues with your hearing? Here’s the facts, and what to look for, when it comes to hearing loss.

Signs of Hearing Loss

In many cases, hearing loss happens gradually over time, meaning that some changes to your hearing may seem insignificant. Even subtle changes to your hearing should be examined, as hearing loss is easier to address the earlier it is detected. Some of the signs that may indicate hearing loss include:
  • Impacted earwax or an object obstructing the ear canal
  • A cold or infection in the ear canal
  • Perforated ear drum
  • Injury, including fractures, of the small bones of the middle ear that detect sound wave vibrations
  • Malformation of the bones in the middle ear
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Signs of Hearing Loss

Types of Hearing Loss

There are two major types of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive, as well hearing loss that incorporates issues with both types, called “mixed hearing loss”. The types of hearing loss are determined by where problems occur in the auditory system, essentially whether they are within or outside of the inner ear.