Because of these characteristics, it is understandable that someone in the early stages of losing their hearing often believes there is no problem, despite what family and friends say. Unfortunately, the person may then put off getting help for several years.
If you think you know someone who has an undetected hearing impairment, please ask him or her to read this article. The first step isn’t hearing aids – it’s a comprehensive audiologic assessment.
These problems affect everyone at one time or another. However, if you or others are noticing that you are having increasing or frequent difficulties, you may have a hearing loss. Any concerns about hearing should be addressed with a comprehensive audiologic examination by a Doctor of Audiology.
Better understanding of hearing and hearing loss begins by understanding how we hear.
Sound waves are collected by the outer ear and channeled along the ear canal to the eardrum. When sound hits the eardrum, the impact creates vibrations which, in turn, cause three bones in the middle ear to move. The smallest of these bones, the stapes, fits into the oval window between the middle and inner ear. When the oval window vibrates, fluid in the inner ear transmits the vibrations into the hearing organ, called the cochlea.
In the inner ear, thousands of microscopic hair cells are bent by the wave-like action of fluid inside the cochlea. The bending of these hairs sets off nerve impulses which are then passed through the auditory nerve to the hearing center of the brain. This center translates the impulses into sounds the brain can recognize.
The information provided here is general in nature. If you need further information, please consult your local Audiologist.
There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.
A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear.
A sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve.