Hearing Loss: Types and Symptoms

March 30, 2020 7:25 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You might have noticed a change in your hearing recently. What does it mean? In order to know the true problem with your ears, you need a general understanding of the various forms of hearing loss. With this in mind, let’s take a look at two types of hearing loss in California and their symptoms.

The most common signs of hearing loss

Adults can experience more than one kind of hearing loss, but there are a few common-thread signs that indicate a decline in your hearing. For instance, your family regularly asks you to turn down the volume on the radio or television, even though you feel it’s still not loud enough. You have difficulty understanding speech in normal or noisy environments or while on the phone, which may be accompanied by a feeling that you can hear what is being said, but not quite understand the words. Another sign your hearing is failing is that you often have to ask people to repeat themselves more than once.

As for noticeable changes in adult hearing, the first indicator may be a ringing in the ears, also called tinnitus. The ringing sounds or pain associated with tinnitus can keep the sufferer isolated out of frustration.

Sensorineural hearing loss

The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. It is identified by the damage it does to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear and/or the nerve pathways that bring sound to the brain.

Sensorineural hearing loss typically happens over time—you likely won’t just wake up unable to hear. Instead, you slowly lose the ability to hear. How you perceive sound volume and clarity changes, and you might notice some louder sounds are now uncomfortable to your ears. This type of hearing loss can affect all ranges of hearing—you may struggle with hearing both high- and low-pitched sounds, only struggle with one range or have one ear that seems to hear better than the other.

If you have high-frequency hearing loss—a common type of sensorineural hearing loss—you may struggle with the ability to understand women’s and children’s voices, hear birds chirping or perceive beeping sounds like kitchen timers and activated vehicle turn signals. This type of hearing loss also makes it difficult to clearly make out certain consonant sounds (s, sh, v, f, th and p). Low-frequency hearing loss is the opposite of high-frequency hearing loss, and it’s rarer.

Conductive hearing loss

About 10 percent of people with hearing loss are diagnosed with conductive hearing loss, meaning the inner ear works, but the outer or middle ear doesn’t. Reasons range from severe earwax buildup to head trauma to more permanent causes that are detected at birth or soon after. Therefore, conductive hearing loss can be sudden, with obvious signs—for example, you may suddenly be unable to hear well in one ear. Some people experience flat hearing loss symptoms, which is when you have difficulty picking up sounds across the noise spectrum. Whether high-pitched, low-pitched or normal, all sounds become harder to hear.

To learn more about hearing loss prevention in California, don’t hesitate to contact Valley Hearing Center – Salinas. Call us today to schedule a consultation!

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