There are three basic types of hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones of the middle ear. Conditions that may cause conductive hearing loss include fluid in the ear from colds, allergies, ear infections, perforated eardrum, benign tumors or impacted earwax. This type of hearing loss can often be medically or surgically corrected.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or to the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be corrected. It is a permanent loss.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Your hearing is measured in decibels (dB). This scale is used to evaluate whether you have hearing loss and to what degree.
Between hearing well and hearing nothing, there are many degrees of hearing impairment. The terms used to describe the degree of hearing loss are mild, moderate, severe and profound. Most hearing losses are mild to moderate.
Mild hearing loss:
Unable to hear soft sounds, some difficulty understanding speech over background noise
Moderate hearing loss:
Unable to hear soft and moderately loud sounds, trouble hearing or understanding everyday conversations or possibly a telephone ringing
Severe hearing loss:
Able to hear only loud sounds such as very loud speech, sirens or a door slamming
Profound hearing loss:
Some very loud sounds are audible but hearing conversation without a hearing instrument is impossible.
Hearing loss can be attributed to age, genetics, diseases, certain medications, head injuries, tumors, and long-term exposure to environmental noise. According to the World Health Organization, sounds over 85 decibels are potentially dangerous and can cause permanent hearing damage over time. The amount of noise and length of exposure time determine the amount of damage.
The Journal of Pediatrics states that 12.5 percent of children ages 6 through 19 have some degree of hearing loss as a result of using ear phones turned to a high volume. Urge your children to turn down the volume of their MP3 players!
You can't reverse hearing loss. Please protect your hearing now!