What is mixed hearing loss?
As mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss the diagnosis and treatment can involve multiple steps. These two forms of hearing loss need separate treatments to target both and ultimately solve the problem. For instance, this might be surgery, earwax removal and digital hearing aids combined with other types of treatment.
Breaking down mixed hearing loss
Sensorineural is one half of this form of hearing loss and means that the cochlea has weakened. The cochlea looks like a spiral covered with small hairs that pick up the sound you hear. When these small hairs are damaged it results in hearing loss. The loss can be gradual over time and perhaps some sound frequencies might go first. Sensorineural hearing loss is often treated with cochlear implants or digital hearing aids.
The other half of this hearing loss is conductive and is generally caused by a blockage in the middle ear that stops sound from the outer ears journey to the brain to be processed. Such blockage can be a result of earwax build-up, abnormal bone growth or tumours. In most cases, the hearing should improve if the blockage is successfully removed - but it does depend on the cause of this hearing loss.
Symptoms of mixed hearing loss
Symptoms of mixed hearing loss are unique from one person to the next, however, they both cause limited hearing in one or both ears. The symptoms you get all depends on the level of the problem, as some might experience mild symptoms, while others may be profoundly deaf.
Here are the main aspects of mixed hearing loss:
When talking about sensorineural hearing loss there is only one main cause and that is noise exposure. On the other hand, conductive hearing loss can be caused by the following:
How do you treat mixed hearing loss?
As I said earlier, the treatment process is a multi-step strategy. Conductive is usually treated with a course of antibiotics, earwax removal and so on. If tumours are present then an audiologist will refer you to your local GP for specialist treatment.
Sensorineural is a little more complex to treat as more often than not - it is permanent. However, it can be supported with digital hearing aids that are the best option for you and your hearing loss level, which are chosen by you and your audiologist.
Other relevant hearing loss information:
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