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Hearing Education

Otology is the study of problems and diseases related to the ear including their diagnosis and treatment.

Hearing loss is one of the more frequent problems encountered.

Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound pathway cannot travel efficiently through the outer and middle ears. Any blockage or impediment to the sound waves, including the ear canal, eardrum, and the tiny bones, or ossicles, of the middle ear will result in hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level and can often be corrected through medicine or surgery.

Although a problem with the bones or ear anatomy can cause a conductive hearing loss, the presence of impacted ear wax (cerumen); fluid in the ear associated with colds, allergies, ear infections (otitis media); or a poor eustachian tube function must all be considered as possible causes.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss can occur for a variety of reason when damage occurs to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. People with sensorineural hearing loss experience a reduction in sound level, speech understanding and hearing clarity.

Sensorieneural hearing loss can be caused by a variety of conditions including problems during pregnancy and birth, drugs and antibiotics that are toxic to the auditory system, and on occasion genetic syndromes. Sensorineural hearing loss commonly occurs as a result of noise exposure, viruses, head trauma, aging, and tumors.

Sensorineural hearing loss affects millions of Americans and unfortunately, when longstanding, cannot be corrected by medicine or surgery. It is usually considered a permanent loss but hearing clarity can often times be improved by the use of hearing aids and assisted listening devices.

New onset hearing loss when not secondary to wax or fluid is considered an emergency and should be seen within a few days of its onset so medical treatment can be initiated.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Video