To understand how we hear, let’s quickly do something fun!
Your outer ear, called the pinna, collects sounds which are then transmitted down the ear canal. The sounds hit the ear drum causing movement, which, in turn, makes the three little bones in the middle ear - hammer, anvil and stirrup - sway back and forth. That action causes the nerve endings in the third part of the ear, the cochlear or inner ear, to become very excited. The electrical signals from the inner ear are transmitted down the hearing or auditory nerve to the brain for interpretation.
Communication between family, friends and co-workers
Relationships, as poor communication may cause anger, frustration and stress
Depression, anxiety or feelings of paranoia
Participation in social activities and feelings of isolation
Perception by others
- 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem
- 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss
- At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems
- It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss
Conductive: A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot travel through the outer canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. Possible causes of a conductive loss could be one of the following: fluid in the middle ear, infection in the ear canal, allergies, poor Eustachian tube function, perforated eardrum, a compacted cerumen, presence of a foreign body or an absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear.
Sensorineural: A sensorineural hearing loss can be understood by its two components – sensory and neural. The sensory loss occurs when there is a dysfunction of the inner ear whereby the inner ear hair cells cannot adequately stimulate the hearing nerve. The neural component may involve severe damage to the inner ear resulting in degeneration of the hearing nerves or an inability of the hearing nerves to transmit information into the central auditory pathways in the brain. Possible causes of a sensorineural hearing loss could be one of the following: illness (i.e., diabetes), ototoxic drugs (i.e., chemotherapy), noise exposure (i.e., firecrackers) or head trauma. Some hearing loss is also attributable to genetics.
Mixed- A mixed hearing loss is essentially a hearing loss that involves a combination of both a conductive and sensorineural component.
- Difficulty having conversations over the phone
- Difficulty having conversations when in the presence of noise
- Difficulty understanding speech when in a group
- Difficulty having one-on-one conversations
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Must have visual cues or “see” the person who is speaking
- Turning up the volume of the TV in order to hear
- Inability to hear the doorbell or phone ring