Hearing loss is a condition characterized by a partial or total inability to hear sounds. It can occur in one or both ears and can range in severity from mild to profound. There are two main types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from being conducted effectively to the inner ear. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include earwax buildup, fluid in the middle ear, ear infections, a perforated eardrum, or abnormalities in the ear structure.

  2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve, which prevents sound signals from being transmitted to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is often caused by natural aging, exposure to loud noise over time, certain medications, genetic factors, or diseases like Meniere's disease.

In some cases, a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, known as mixed hearing loss, can occur.

Symptoms of hearing loss can vary depending on the type and severity but commonly include:

  • Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Turning up the volume on the television or radio
  • Trouble hearing high-pitched sounds
  • Feeling like others are mumbling or not speaking clearly

If you suspect you have hearing loss, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. They can evaluate your hearing through various tests and provide appropriate recommendations and treatment options, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive devices.