Hearing loss can never be linked back to one exact cause. The reason for hearing loss differs from person to person as there are several leading causes to hearing loss. What most people fail to realize is that there is more than one type of hearing loss.
There are actually four different types of hearing loss; Auditory Processing Disorders, Conductive, Sensorineural and Mixed.
So, what’s the difference?
Auditory Processing Disorders occur when the brain fails at processing information containing sound, like speech. Oftentimes, it can be difficult for people with Auditory Processing Disorders to locate exactly where certain sounds are coming from.
Also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder, individuals who are diagnosed with this form of hearing loss tend to not recognize the differences between sounds and words.
Conductive Hearing Loss can be linked back to problems in the outer or middle ear. This area is important to hearing because this is where sound passes to the inner ear. Any interference can cause severe problems. Too much fluid buildup, earwax, abnormal bone growth, punctured eardrums or even ear infections are some of the main causes.
Typically, Conductive Hearing Loss is more common in children. Surgeries and certain types of hearing technology can reverse and treat Conductive Hearing Loss, such as hearing aids, bone anchored hearing devices and middle ear implants.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs when the hearing organ (the cochlea), and/or the auditory nerves are damaged or experience some sort of malfunction. Because of this, the ear is unable to accurately send information to the brain.
While hearing aids, cochlear implants and other hearing technologies can help reduce the effects of Sensorineural Hearing Loss, it is generally speaking always permanent.
The causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss typically cannot be linked back to one source. It can be because of the natural aging process, disease and/or infections, accidents or exposure to loud noises.
Mixed Hearing Loss can be considered to be a combination of Conductive Hearing Loss and Sensorineural Hearing Loss. When the two are both present, only the Sensorineural Hearing loss component is everlasting, while the Conductive component is usually temporary. This particular type of hearing loss ranges in severity from mild to profound.
While people believe that hearing loss is just one general entity, there are different components. These four different types can all be categorized by which part of the auditory system is damaged.