Colorado Springs Audiology, Inc.
Mountain Time USA
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DISEASES OF THE EAR
SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS - hearing loss involving the inner ear
Starting with most prevalent..,
Presbycusis (i.e., AGE-RELATED hearing loss) starts out as causing hearing loss in the high frequencies; with advancing age, lower frequencies are involved. Presbycusis includes some degree of "central" (meaning "auditory nerve pathway and/or brain related) hearing loss. The higher frequencies are associated with hearing words clearly (i.e., how well we discriminate words), whereas the lower frequencies affect general loudness. "Central" hearing impairment refers to how the brain processes and integrates auditory signals from the inner ear.
Noise Exposure typically causes hearing loss in 3-6kHz frequency range and often accompanied with tinnitus (sometimes called "ringing in the ears").
Family history of hearing loss is the genetic tendencies of hearing problems parents or siblings have experienced.Ototoxicity (drug-induced hearing loss) causes severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and high frequency hearing loss.
Genetic predisposition of hearing loss can cause variable shapes of hearing loss.
Meniere's Syndrome typically causes severe low frequency hearing loss and is commonly accompanied with low rushing tinnitus, severe vertigo, and aural fullenss; this is also called endolymphatic hydrops.
Sudden idiopathathic sensorineural hearing loss often will cause total permanent hearing loss in one ear. Immediate medical attention is necessary.
CAUSES OF CONDUCTIVE HEARING LOSS - meaning, hearing loss involving either the middle and/or outer ear.
Starting with most prevalent...
Otitis Media starts out as significantly negative pressure in the middle ear, usually caused by poor eustachian tube function, and the ears will not "pop." This affects the eardrum, which in turns makes it tougher to hear normally. The greater the negative pressure, the worse the hearing. If negative pressure is prolonged, fluid can be drawn into the middle ear. Hearing losses tend to be mild to moderate (20-50dB).
Otosclerosis is an abnormal stiffening of the stapes. The stapes (or stirrup) is one of three bones in the middle ear; the others being the hammer and anvil. As movement is restricted from the disease, general decline is hearing is noticed. Hearing losses can be moderate to severe (50-70dB).
Cerumen (earwax) production in normal, but when significantly impacted, it can interfere with sound transmission through the ear canal. Usually, the impaction has to be nearly 100% before symptoms are noticed. Hearing loss can be moderate to severe.
CAUSES OF "MIXED" HEARING LOSS - meaning, hearing loss involving both the inner ear and/or middle ear and/or outer ear.
Otosclerosis and otitis media generally affect the middle ear causing conductive hearing loss, but the disease process can also "cross" into the inner ear, causing sensorineural hearinig loss. The combination of "conductive" and "sensorineural" hearing loss is referred to as "mixed" loss.