There are several diseases of the ear, with some being sudden-onset while others take years to build up.
Sudden hearing loss can be indicative of a serious problem. If you experience sudden hearing loss, contact your doctor right away, or seek out medical attention immediately. Time could be of the essence with certain problems, so don’t hesitate to seek help as soon as possible.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This occurs when the nerve endings in the cochlea have been broken or damaged and cannot properly receive the signal sent through the oval window of the inner ear. The nerve endings closest to that window, those that sense higher frequencies, are at the highest risk for damage. Results from Pinnacle Hearing Centre’s examination are determined to be sensorineural hearing loss when the headphones match closely to the results from a bone oscillator.
Aging and the Presbycusis Effect
The most common type of hearing loss for those over 60, and for those who’ve worked in a noisy environment is called presbycusis (a word coined by Arne Zabell, author of, “The Accumulation of Birthdays”).
At Pinnacle Hearing Centre, we refer to this type as, “sloping hearing loss”, as the presbycusis effect causes mild loss to lower frequencies (pitch), then moderate to severe hearing loss as the frequency rises.
*Presbycusis hearing loss is not the same as Noise-Induced hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss
When the results from the bone oscillator show as normal, but the result from our air conducted testing, (through headphones), shows a degree of hearing loss, we diagnose it as conductive hearing loss. It’s similar to a tire with a slow leak: it’s not completely compromised, but there is a problem, and it’s slowly getting worse.
There are several causes of conductive hearing loss:
A middle ear infection (the most common) – when the middle ear cavity is filled with fluid, hindering the tympanic membrane (eardrum) from vibrating. Middle ear infections and the hearing loss that accompanies them, are usually temporary and easily curable.
Severely damaged tympanic membrane – Usually caused by sudden, severe trauma to the eardrum.
Dissolving of the ossicles – Can be caused by certain diseases.
Mixed hearing loss– a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
The most common causes of mixed hearing loss are Otosclerosis and Meniere’s Syndrome.
Otosclerosis – a disease of the ossicles (bones) of the middle and inner ear. Tissue around the ossicles knit together, becoming an immovable mass unable to to transmit sound, reducing flexibility in the oval window, as well as inhibiting proper vibration within the ear.
Meniere’s Syndrome – Inner ear disorder causing vertigo (spinning sensation) episodes. Bouts of hearing loss occurs intermittently, eventually resulting in permanent loss of hearing, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and a feeling of fullness/pressure inside the ear. Usually, this syndrome only affects one ear.
Improve the quality of your life by improving the quality of your hearing. Book a free, no-obligation hearing test today.