Blog9 840x560 - Different Types of Audio Impairment to Know About

Different Types of Audio Impairment to Know About

There are different types of hearing loss or impairment based on the functions that are affected. There are four main types. The different types can be caused by different things which you can learn more about here. Today, we want to take a look at the four different types of hearing impairment and what they mean. We will also have a look at the different levels of impairment.

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Types of Hearing Impairment

  1. Auditory Processing Disorders – This type of impairment involves the brain’s inability to understand auditory information. In other words, the sound waves may get to the brain through the auditory nerve, but the brain doesn’t know how to interpret the speech or other sounds. It cannot work out where the sounds are coming from or what they mean.
  2. Conductive Hearing Loss – This type of hearing loss is caused by problems with the middle and inner ear structures and functioning. These two parts of the ear play the biggest role in our ability to hear and are responsible for carrying the sound waves to the brain. Causes of this type of hearing loss include ear infections, a punctured eardrum, fluid in the ear, etc. This type can be treated through surgery or certain types of hearing aids.
  3. Sensorineural Hearing Loss – This type of impairment is usually permanent and cannot be easily fixed or reversed. It is caused by the malfunction or damage of the auditory nerve or the cochlea which is a very important ear structure. The cochlea sends the sound wave information to the auditory nerve which sends it to the brain for interpretation. Damage or malfunction of these two structures means that the information doesn’t get to the brain or gets there in a strange way that doesn’t make sense. Causes of this type of impairment include aging, loud noises, genetics, and medications.
  4. Mixed Hearing Loss – This occurs when both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss is present. The conductive hearing impairment may be treatable while the sensorineural probably isn’t.

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Levels of Hearing Impairment

Mild – Mild hearing impairment or loss means that the person struggles to follow conversations in noisy situations. They have trouble isolating sounds and voices.

Moderate – Moderate hearing loss requires a hearing aid to keep up with sounds, noises, and conversations around the person. Sounds below 40 decibels are not picked up and cannot be heard.

Severe – People with severe hearing impairment cannot hear without a strong hearing aid or cochlear implant. The damage is of such a nature that lip-reading is often used to take part in conversations or understand what someone is saying or asking.

Profound – Profound hearing impairment means that there is almost no hearing ability. In some cases, even hearing aids do not help. People with profound hearing loss generally communicate through sign language and lip reading.

Hearing loss is more common than we may think and often people who can be helped or will benefit from hearing aids, do not realize it or won’t admit it. If you or someone you know are struggling with hearing ability, go see an audiologist and take precautions or actions to limit any further damage.

Blog8 840x560 - What Causes Hearing Impairment and Why?

What Causes Hearing Impairment and Why?

Hearing impairment can happen to anyone. Some people are born without the ability to hear and others develop impairment due to certain factors that can be genetic or environmental. Hearing Center Online would like to help you understand the causes of hearing impairment. There are several different possible causes.

Heredity – The first possible cause is heredity. This means that if hearing problems or the specific cause thereof is present in the parents or grandparents of a child, he or she may inherit those problems and also develop hearing impairment.

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Infections – Infections of the middle or inner ear can cause hearing impairment. Infection may interfere with the functioning of the ear structures in such a way that it causes permanent damage. The middle and inner ear areas are where the delicate structures are found that channel the sounds to our brain and help us hear.

Fluid in the ears – When water or other fluids enter the ear it can cause damage. Water from swimming a lot can cause permanent damage. Fluids that build up due to colds can also cause damage. It is important to try and always keep your ears dry and checked for fluids after a cold.

Ototoxic drugs and chemicals – Certain medicines and other chemicals have been known to cause damage to the ears and cause hearing problems. If you already experience some problems with hearing or know that you may have a genetic condition, you should check with your doctor about prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Some commonly used medicines have been linked to causing or worsening hearing problems.

Allergies – Allergies may affect the functioning of the ear and cause hearing problems. Sinus problems may be a contributing factor. If you or your children suffer from frequent allergies, consult your doctor about the risks of hearing impairment.

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Excessively loud noises – Hearing impairment can be caused due to over-exposure of loud noises. Explosions, loud music, gunfire, etc. are all things that can cause permanent damage. People who serve in the defence forces and are around gunfire and explosions all the time may develop impairment early on. Listening to very loud music continuously can also cause impairment. It is not a myth your parents came up with. Construction workers are also at risk.

Malformation – If parts of the ear did not form or develop correctly that can cause deafness or severe hearing impairment. There can be different reasons for malformation including birth defects, substance abuse, heredity, etc. Any of the three parts of the ear can be malformed and cause problems.

Hearing impairment can result from different causes. Some are caused and others are inherent. The ones that are caused can often be prevented if you take good care of your ears. Look at our tips on caring for ears and hearing here. You can also learn more about the causes here and here. If you have any of your own stories to tell us about how hearing impairment developed, please visit our WRITE FOR US page.


Blog2 840x560 - Hearing Impairment: Treatment Options to Restore Hearing

Hearing Impairment: Treatment Options to Restore Hearing

Technology has made it possible for us to treat hearing impairment to a certain degree. The type of treatment depends on the cause of the hearing impairment and the severity thereof. It can also happen that no treatment is suitable or that what is available doesn’t work. However, there are different treatments available and they have helped many people hear for the first time or hear again. Technology keeps improving and more options become available to restore hearing.

The options for hearing impairment basically consist of two categories or equipment and one category of education. In other words, you can choose from hearing aids or hearing implants for the equipment or you can go with learning sign language and learning to lip read.

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Hearing Aids

A hearing aid is that thing you generally think of your grandparents wearing. It is a small device that makes sounds louder in the ear. These aids cannot repair your hearing to full capacity. It simply makes things louder and clearer so you can hear it. There are different options for hearing aids that include behind the ear, in the ear, and in the canal. These are different in sizes and where they are placed.

Hearing Implants - Hearing Impairment: Treatment Options to Restore Hearing

Hearing Implants

If hearing aids do not work to restore some hearing, the next step may be hearing implants. For people with more severe hearing damage, implants tend to work better. The device is implanted into the person’s skull to help improve hearing. The different types include cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids, and auditory brainstem implants. These devices require an operation for implantation. The choice of the device here will depend on different factors. These factors may include costs, the severity of damage, age, and other health complications.

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Sign Language

When no devices can help or when a person doesn’t want to make use of a hearing aid or implant, they can learn alternative ways of communication. Sign language is the most common option for people who cannot hear. There are different ways to learn and it is helpful when family and friends also learn. Lip reading is also a good skill to have. This is especially helpful if the person can still speak even though he or she can no longer hear clearly. By reading a person’s lips as they speak, you can determine what words they are saying and respond accordingly.

Hearing impairment is rarely completely reversible. There are many options and technology keeps giving us more options. For most people, the costs involved may delay the process or make it an impossible option. However, many people have been helped to hear for the first time through existing options.