Deafness and reduced or absent hearing can be congenital, meaning a child is born with reduced ability to hear. This can range from mild to severe. Severe hearing loss often requires the use of sign language and is beyond the use of a hearing aid. Babies with hearing problems often show delayed development, especially in speech and cognition.For many people problems with hearing are acquired, meaning that they develop sometime in life after birth. Sometimes it is hard to find the reason or reasons for an individual’s hearing loss. For some people the loss is minimal and for others it is more severe.There are two main causes for acquired hearing loss and deafness in patients. There are more specific causes within each general category.
Sensor neural aural plus is quite common. In this type of problem there is damage to nerve transmission of sound somewhere along the pathway from within the inner ear to the brain. It is often called ‘nerve deafness’. In the cochlea, which is in the inner ear, there are hair cells that transmit sound impulses to the brain through nerves. Any nerve injury that interferes with this information transfer from the hair cells of the inner ear to the auditory nerve that conducts from the inner ear to the brain causes sensor neural hearing loss.Some examples of this type of problem include:Aging – Older people often lose cochlear hair cells which is often responsible for decreased hearing in more senior adults. This can be mild or severe hearing loss. Sometimes the loss is severe enough to require a hearing aid.
Acoustic Trauma -This refers to having an injury of some kind to the nervous conduction mechanisms. Very loud noises can damage hair cells in the inner ear. This is why excessive volume for sound producing electronics is so dangerous to hearing. Also ear protection should be worn in noisy environments, such as working in a shop or during hunting.Infections – Some infections can cause loss of hair cells i.e. mumps or meningitis. Sensor neural hearing loss does not always show up immediately but usually does not improve once it develops. That development can be gradual over many years, or it can be sudden and acute.
Conductive Hearing Loss.Conductive Hearing loss is basically caused by obstruction in the outer or middle ear which prevents or inhibits sound passing to the inner ear. Many of these causes are acute and can be resolved.This type can be caused by anything that interferes with the transmission of sound from the outer to the inner ear, such as;Ear infections are common in children. Hearing usually returns to normal one the infection subsides.When the ear behind the tympanic membrane the middle ear becomes filled with a sticky fluid, often resulting from many reoccurring ear infections, conductive temporary reduced hearing occurs, which usually resolves after the fluid is drained.