Mixed Hearing Loss

Treating Mixed Hearing Loss

It is estimated that over 40 million people living in the U.S. experience some form of hearing loss. Shockingly a considerable number of these cases go untreated, sometimes for years. Untreated hearing loss can result in worsening of health conditions overall. To complicate matters, treatment options for mixed hearing loss may not be straightforward creating confusion and delays in effective treatment. This article will cover the different types of hearing loss and what treatment options are available.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Issues associated with the middle or outer ear that prevents sounds from reaching the eardrum are referred to as conductive hearing loss. Conditions known to cause conductive hearing loss include impacted earwax, ruptured eardrum, swimmer’s ear, benign tumors, ear infections, and objects lodged in the ear canal.

How is it Treated?

Treatments for conductive hearing loss address the underlying issue to remove the blockage and restore hearing; these include cleaning, surgery, or antibiotics if the result of an infection.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The inner ear canal, also known as the cochlea, is lined with minuscule hairs called stereocilia. These hairs convert the stimulation from sound waves into electric signals the brain interprets. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when something goes wrong with the stereocilia. This condition is known to be caused by poor blood circulation, extremely loud sounds, and ototoxic medications.

How is it Treated?

The most common way to treat sensorineural hearing loss is through technology. Hearing aids are the first line of treatment, followed by cochlear implants for severe cases.

Mixed Hearing Loss

When hearing loss is attributed to a combination of factors, it is known as mixed hearing loss. This occurs when issues are found with the middle ear and inside the cochlea. An excellent example of this is a condition known as a clubbed ear or cauliflower ear; this happens when there is damage to the outer ear that is severe enough to block sound to the middle ear and disrupt blood flow resulting in mixed hearing loss.

How is it Treated?

Mixed hearing loss presents a complicated problem to audiologists. Each issue has to be dealt with at the same time. Because of this, treatment options will vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the hearing loss.

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