Understanding Hearing & Hearing Loss
Beacon empowers our patients with the knowledge and services to live well. And part of living well with hearing loss is understanding it.
Your ears consist of three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear. Each part plays its own critical role, yet they all work together to transmit sounds, which are interpreted by your brain. Any problem in this process can result in hearing loss.
Types of hearing loss can vary by degrees from person-to-person. They include:
- Sensorineural hearing loss – occurs with damage to the inner ear or hearing nerve. Sounds may be softer and difficult to understand, especially in noisy conditions.
- High-frequency hearing loss – a type of sensorineural hearing loss where it may not be possible to hear higher-pitched sounds such as birds chirping.
- Single-sided deafness (SSD) – also called unilateral hearing loss, deafness occurs in one ear, while hearing remains normal in the other.
- Conductive hearing loss – occurs when damage to the outer or middle ear blocks sound vibrations from reaching your inner ear. Your ears may feel plugged, and sounds may be muffled, especially if there’s a lot of background noise.
- Mixed hearing loss – a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss resulting from damage in both the outer or middle ear and the inner ear.