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Hearing Loss
Hearing loss or deafness is the partial / total inability to hear a sound in one or both ears. It can also be explained as any alteration of hearing capacity. Hearing impairment can be various degree including mild, moderate, severe, profound or total hearing impairment. It can be unilateral (Present in 1 ear), bilateral (Present in both ears) . Hearing loss in one ear is a frustrating experience for patient. He / she may have difficulty 
  • in distinguishing the direction of sound
  • difficulty to understand speech in noisy environment

Hence require face-to-face conversation.

Auditory system can be divided into outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, auditory nerve and finally the nervous system. Thus depending upon the particular part of auditory system effected, hearing loss can be divided into different types. An audiologist tries to localize where in the hearing pathway where the problem lies so as to classify the hearing loss to one of the following groups.
This is most important in determining the appropriate treatment or rehabilitation.

Types of hearing loss:
Conductive: This due to the condition that interferes with the transmissions of sound through outer ear and middle ear to inner ear.
In case of conductive hearing loss, sound waves are not transmitted to inner ear because of 

  • interference in external ear
  • Infection with swelling that shuts the ear canal
  • foreign bodies in the ear
  • injury
  • growth in the ear canal
  • blockage by wax
  • birth defects
  • perforation / hole in the ear drum
  • conditions in the middle ear

Sensory Neural Hearing Loss
This is caused due to damage that lies in the inner ear, auditory nerve / both. Other common names for this types of hearing loss are “Nerve Deafness” & “Retro cochlear Hearing Loss”

Mixed Hearing Loss
Two / more types of hearing impairment. In mixed hearing loss both conductive and sensory neural hearing loss are present in the same ear.

Central Hearing Loss: Problem lies in the central nervous system, some where within the brain.

  • Difficulty interpreting complex task
  • Some people hear perfectly well, but have difficulty in understanding what is being said.
  • Difficulty when there are several conversions going on

Functional Hearing Loss:
Involves a psychological / emotional problem.

  • Do not hear / respond but have normal hearing

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