Like other types of medical conditions, there are varying degrees of hearing loss. Some patients have lost their entire hearing, while others have limited hearing capacity that makes it difficult to identify sounds. Here are some of the common degrees of hearing loss and up to what extent they affect your hearing system:
- Bilateral – As the prefix bi- means, both ears have lost the capacity to hear or detect sounds.
- Unilateral – Contrary to the bilateral type, only one of each ear malfunctions.
- Symmetrical – The degree of hearing loss in both ears are the same.
- Asymmetrical – The degree of hearing loss in each ear varies.
- Progressive – This degree of hearing loss condition worsens with time.
- Sudden – This one is characterized by a rapid onset and quickly exhibits itself, hence it requires immediate medical attention as well.
- Fluctuating – Hearing loss is unstable and highly unpredictable; oftentimes it becomes better, other times it becomes worse.
- Stable – The symptoms and degree of hearing loss remains consistent over a given period of time.
Types Of Hearing Loss
Depending on the degree, causes, and configuration of hearing loss, it also has varying types. To recognize one from the other requires detection of cause and what part of your hearing system is affected. There are 3 general types of hearing loss: conductive, sensory, and neural. Each one is discussed thoroughly below:
Conductive Hearing Loss
In this type of hearing loss, the outer or middle ear is where the malfunction happens. When you have this condition though, you can expect to suffer from a mild case of hearing loss. Some of the affected parts are the ear canal, eardrum, or the tiny bones in the middle ear. This is also considered a temporary case of hearing loss, because the inner part of the ear is the most crucial part of the hearing process. Some of the symptoms of conductive hearing loss include reduced sound levels or inability to capture faint sounds.
Sensory Hearing Loss
Once the nerves in your inner ear are damaged, that is when you have sensory hearing loss. It can exhibit the same type of symptoms as conductive hearing loss but also lacks the ability to understand speech. It is a more serious case as it can lead to permanent loss of hearing. There are various reasons as to how one can develop this type of hearing loss but some of them come as symptoms to other diseases, taking drugs that are hazardous to your hearing system, or merely genetic. It can be corrected only through surgical or medical procedures.
Neural Hearing Loss
This type of hearing loss occurs when there is a malfunction in the nerves that supposedly sends out the sound vibration or messages from the inner ear towards your brain. Therefore, it impairs your ability to translate or recognize sounds.