Types of Hearing Loss in Fort Wayne, IN Skip to Main Content

Conductive vs Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The Conductive vs Sensorineural Hearing Loss at Fort Wayne, IN.
– 6.5 minute read

What Are the Types of Hearing Loss?

Learn More About Conductive & Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Fort Wayne, IN

Hearing loss is a common condition, affecting an average of one in three adults in the United States over the age of 65. Over the age of 75, the figure increases. Age-related hearing loss is the most common form, but different types of hearing loss can affect people of any age. The three most common types include conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss. Hearing loss can also be caused by several things, from sudden loud sounds to earwax blockages. When you better understand your hearing loss type, you can make more informed decisions about your treatment options. 

Below, the experts at Lowe Audiology go over the different types of hearing loss and how they’re addressed by hearing care providers. With years of experience providing comprehensive hearing care services throughout Fort Wayne, IN and the surrounding areas, we offer leading expertise in hearing healthcare. Contact the clinical team at Lowe Audiology today to learn more about the different hearing loss types. 

What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss? 

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), the most common form, results from damage to your auditory nerve or inner ear. SNHL is a permanent condition and, in most cases, can’t be reversed with medicine or surgery. Fortunately, hearing can be drastically improved with hearing aids or, in more severe hearing loss cases, a cochlear device. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include the natural aging process (presbycusis) and exposure to loud sounds (noise-induced hearing loss). Some of the less common causes of SNHL include:

  • Genetics
  • Injury
  • Viral infections
  • Ototoxic medications and substances

What Is Conductive Hearing Loss? 

Conductive hearing loss is usually treatable and caused by a blockage or obstruction in your ear canal. A problem with the middle ear’s eardrum, muscles, or ligaments can prevent sounds from traveling through your ear canal, resulting in hearing loss. Several things can cause conductive hearing loss, but some of the most common include the following: 

  • Ear infections
  • Colds
  • Allergies
  • Earwax buildup
  • Physical obstruction

Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss 

The symptoms a patient experiences with conductive hearing loss can vary widely depending on the condition’s cause and severity. The condition can sometimes be painful or coincide with other conditions affecting your ears, such as an inner ear infection. In addition to a reduced ability to hear clearly, some of the common symptoms of conductive hearing loss include: 

  • Feeling dizzy or having trouble balancing
  • Tinnitus (hearing ringing, buzzing, or humming in your ears)
  • Ears feeling clogged
  • Sudden onset hearing loss
  • Pain in one or both ears
  • Difficulty hearing others when they’re speaking
  • Your voice sounds different
  • Feeling pressure in your ears

Mixed Hearing Loss 

A patient with mixed hearing loss has a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. When someone has pre-existing hearing loss, such as noise-induced hearing loss, and something blocking their ear, mixed hearing loss can be the result. 

Preventing Sensorineural Hearing Loss 

Preventative care and regular hearing tests are the best way to avoid sensorineural hearing loss. An audiologist or hearing care provider will conduct a series of tests during an exam to determine the type and severity of the hearing loss you may be experiencing. Even if you’re not currently experiencing hearing problems, comprehensive hearing evaluations allow your hearing care provider to track any changes to your hearing, recommend preventative measures, and formulate an individualized treatment plan as needed. 

Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss 

Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, so adequately protecting your hearing from loud sounds at all costs is essential. Any sound above 85 dB (decibels) can damage your auditory nerve system. Some of the most effective ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss include: 

  • Reducing your exposure to loud noises with distance and breaks 
  • Wearing custom hearing protection around loud sounds  
  • Keeping all audio entertainment at safe listening levels
  • Keeping your vehicle windows closed in noisy traffic  
  • Wearing hearing protection that’s designed for your specific needs, lifestyle, and environment

Preventing Trauma-Induced Hearing Loss 

Preventing trauma-induced hearing loss can look like:

  • Wearing custom hearing protection in loud environments   
  • Wearing a protective helmet or headgear when necessary
  • Refraining from inserting anything into your ear canal  
  • Equalizing your ear pressure on a plane by chewing gum, using special earplugs, or yawning

Preventing Ototoxicity 

Various medications and substances can cause hearing loss. Some ways to prevent hearing loss caused by ototoxicity include: 

  • Watching for and closely monitoring any symptoms of ototoxicity when taking medication  
  • Reporting any changes in hearing or tinnitus to your hearing care provider immediately
  • Discussing the risks of ototoxicity with your primary healthcare provider

Address Your Hearing Loss Symptoms Today

While the symptoms and causes of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss differ, the need for early intervention and diagnosis is the same. The sooner you receive an accurate diagnosis from a trained hearing care provider, the sooner you can get the treatment you need for improved hearing. The highly skilled professionals at Lowe Audiology want to help you regain your joy of hearing. Find a hearing care center near you to take the first step toward better hearing. The hearing care providers at Lowe Audiology offer all the services you need under one roof, from custom hearing protection solutions to tinnitus treatment and testing. 

Our clinical teams have years of experience serving patients throughout Fort Wayne, IN and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive hearing care services, or schedule an appointment online for a one-on-one consultation at one of our conveniently located hearing care centers. 

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