What kind of hearing loss do I have?

As an audiologist, one of the most common questions we receive from our patients is, “What kind of hearing loss do I have?” 

Hearing loss comes in many forms, types, and degrees. Even the source of hearing loss is different for each person. Like fingerprints, hearing loss is unique. It’s never the same for each individual.

That being said, understanding the type and degree of hearing loss is highly important in developing an appropriate treatment plan.

Three Types of Hearing Loss

There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells in the auditory nerve or inner ear. This type of hearing loss is irreversible. It is majorly caused by aging, certain medical conditions, or exposure to loud noise.

Conductive hearing loss 

Conductive hearing loss takes place when the sound waves fail to reach the inner ear due to damage or blockage in the middle or outer ear. In most cases, conductive hearing loss is temporary and can be treated with medication or surgery.

Mixed hearing loss

As the name implies, mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Understandably, the treatment for mixed hearing loss will depend on the main cause.

Determining The Type and Degree of Hearing Loss

To determine the type and degree of hearing loss, an audiologist will need to perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation. This will typically involve a battery of tests to measure your ability to hear various sounds, pitches, and frequencies. 

The results of these evaluations will be used to create an audiogram, a visual representation of your overall hearing ability.

Hearing loss is measured in decibels (dB). Normal hearing falls between 0-25 dB, mild hearing loss falls between 26-40 dB, moderate hearing loss falls between 41-70 dB, severe hearing loss falls between 71-90 dB, and profound hearing loss ranges above 90 dB.

While audiograms are considered to be an important tool in diagnosing hearing loss, it is not the only test to consider. The patient’s medical history, exposure to noise, lifestyle, and other relevant factors will also be taken into consideration to come up with a highly-personalized treatment plan.

Can I test my hearing myself?

Technically, yes. You can perform a basic hearing test on yourself using online hearing tests on the web and smartphone apps. However, you must keep in mind that these “tests” are not equivalent to a professional hearing evaluation performed by an audiologist.

Audiologists perform a comprehensive evaluation of your hearing abilities using professional tools and equipment. These tools help in assessing the type and degree of hearing loss. At the end of the hearing evaluation, audiologists can provide recommendations for appropriate treatment.

In a nutshell, self-administered hearing tests may give you an idea of whether you have hearing loss. However, these DIY hearing tests cannot provide the same level of accuracy as a professional evaluation. 

We highly discourage relying on self-administered hearing tests because it could potentially delay or distort the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss could negatively impact your overall health and quality of life, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

If you suspect you or a loved one may have hearing loss, please schedule an appointment with an audiologist right away for a professional and thorough evaluation.

Treatment For Hearing Loss

The treatment plan for hearing loss will depend on the type and degree of hearing loss. In most cases, sensorineural hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids, cochlear implants, or assistive listening devices that can help amplify sound.

Meanwhile, treatment plans for conductive hearing loss include medication or surgery to repair the damage or remove any physical blockage in the middle or outer ear.

Lifestyle changes can also help manage hearing loss. These lifestyle changes include using hearing protection, avoiding loud noises, using noise-canceling headphones, and working around various communication strategies.

Hearing Tests in Cary, NC

Cary Audiology provides comprehensive hearing tests and evaluations in Cary, NC.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

ready to improve your hearing?

At Cary Audiology Associates, our goal is to enhance the quality of life of hearing impaired individuals by providing exceptional, reliable and honest hearing health care services to those desiring better hearing. Schedule an appointment today to get started.

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