Hearing Loss and Conditions
It is important to be aware that there are different types of hearing loss, not all of which require hearing aids. In many cases, medical intervention is more appropriate.
The diagram below illustrates the different parts of the ear and where hearing loss can occur.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three main types of hearing loss: Conductive, sensorineural and mixed.
A sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the delicate hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) which reduces our ability to hear sounds effectively. In most cases, sensorineural hearing losses are permanent and are often treated through the fitting of hearing aids and auditory rehabilitation.
This hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing losses. A combination of treatment methods is usually used for this type of hearing loss.
Tinnitus is the medical term for noises in the ear or head which are not associated with any external sound. The type, frequency and nature of the noise varies between people. Often it can be a ringing, humming or hissing sound or even a combination of sounds.
In many cases, tinnitus is associated with some degree of hearing loss, however this is not always the case.
Tinnitus is not a disease itself, but a symptom. Almost anything that causes damage or irritation to the auditory system, may result in the generation of false signals which are interpreted by the brain as sound.