The type of treatment administered for hearing loss depends on the type of hearing loss a person has. Once one of our Doctors of Audiology diagnoses what kind of hearing loss you have, they can then determine the appropriate treatment. There are two primary types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural.
Conductive hearing loss is caused by either damage or blockage of the path of sound from the visible part of the ear (the pinna) through the ear canal (auditory canal) to the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and finally through the middle ear, which is located just past the ear drum and before the inner ear (cochlea). Damage or blockage of sound in the middle ear affects the movement of the ossicles (i.e., middle ear bones–malleus/hammer, incus/anvil and stapes/stirrup) which must vibrate to transmit the sound to the nerves in the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is usually temporary and is treatable with medicine or surgery. Common causes of conductive hearing loss are middle ear infections or fluid and Eustachian tube dysfunction and outer ear infections with fungus or bacteria (swimmer’s ear). Less common middle ear problems causing hearing losses include otosclerosis, cholesteatoma, and tumors such as glomus jugulare. Treatment of conductive hearing loss often involves medications such as decongestants, antibiotics, antifungals and surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the cochlea (inner ear) or the auditory nerve (hearing nerve) is damaged. The loss is usually permanent. Using special testing at Hearing and Balance Institute of the Rockies, Inc. an audiologist can determine if your hearing loss is sensory (cochlea) or neural (auditory nerve). This type of hearing loss is treated by fitting the patient with hearing aids, assistive listening devices or cochlear implants. In very rare cases, sensorineural hearing loss is due to a tumor which the specialized testing you will receive will identify.
Hearing loss may also consist of both conductive and sensorineural types. In this case, it is called a mixed hearing loss.
Your Doctor of Audiology will conduct various tests to determine what type of hearing loss you have and determine the appropriate treatment.
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