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Scanning electron micrographs of the normal (a) and damaged (b) cochlear sensory epithelium. Also know as nerve-type hearing loss, this type of gradually-diminished hearing is commonly associated with the aging process. This type of hearing loss occurs when sound is inadequately conducted through the external or middle ear to the inner ear. Approximately 20 percent of patients with complaints of hearing problems suffer from this type of loss. The extent of the hearing loss varies too, from a mild to a severe hearing loss where loud safety signals may not be heard. If you feel that your hearing is not what it used to be, or are concerned that a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, take a couple of minutes to do the short self-assessment test provided here. However, conductive loss accounts for only 10% of all hearing losses, and they range from mild to moderate in severity. When volume is sufficiently increased, clarity and understanding are usually intact for someone with a conductive hearing loss.
A sensorineural hearing loss can be of any degree ñ mild, moderate, severe or profound.
While the overall volume of sound may be reduced, the clarity of sounds or voices is also affected.
While the ageing process is a major contributor to hearing loss, it is certainly not a condition reserved for the later stages of life.
Not surprisingly, given the impact of noise, males are considerably more likely to have hearing loss than women, including being twice as likely to have a moderate to severe hearing loss.
This graph shown here illustrates the time it takes to cause permanent damage to your hearing when you're exposed to different levels of sound. There are two general types of hearing loss: Conductive hearing loss and Sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is caused by any disruption in the passage of sound from the external ear via the middle ear to the oval window.  Possible causes are impacted wax,  tympanic membrane perforation, otitis media, middle ear effusion, ossicle problems including otosclerosis. According to US government statistics from the 60's (National Center for Health Statistics), only 8% of the entire US population has any difficulty with hearing at all.

Examples of conditions that cause sensorineural hearing loss are noise and just living a long time. If you have a sensorineural hearing loss, your goal should be to find out why, if you can prevent it from getting worse, and if a hearing aid could help you in overcoming the impairments associated with hearing loss. If you have to have a hearing loss, it is best to have a conductive one, as these disorders are often fixable. If you have a conductive hearing loss, your goal should be to find out why, if you can prevent it from getting worse, and if a hearing aid, surgery, or perhaps just wax removal might help you in overcoming the impairments associated with hearing loss.
MRI scan of person with central hearing loss, showing high-signal (white spots) in inferior colliculi. Figure 3a: Audiogram (hearing test) typical of early Meniere's disease on the right side (x=left, o=right).
Figure 3b: Peaked Audiogram typical of middle-stage Meniere's disease, again on the right side. Figure 3c: Flat audiogram typical of late-stage Meniere's disease, again on the right side. Dawes P, Fortnum H, Moore DR, Emsley R, Norman P, Cruickshanks K, Davis A, Edmondson-Jones M, McCormack A, Lutman M, Munro K A Population Snapshot of 40- to 69-Year Olds in the United Kingdom. Leskowitz MJ1, Caruana FF2, Siedlecki B2, Qian ZJ1, Spitzer JB2, Lalwani AK2.Asymmetric hearing loss is common and benign in patients aged 95 years and older. In the normal cochlea, the stereocilia of a single row of inner hair cells (IHCs) and three rows of outer hair cells (OHCs) are present in an orderly array. More commonly it is manifested as a difficulty with word understanding, particularly in the presence of background noise. The good news is that conductive hearing loss can often be medically treated, and in many cases, hearing can be completely restored.
Other symptoms may also be present, such as ear pain, drainage from the ears, or a feeling of pressure or a blockage. In more than 95% of cases involving sensorineural hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear implants are the recommended course of treatment. Studies have shown that exposure to noise is estimated to be a contributing factor in around 37% of cases of the condition and interestingly, around 50% of Australians with hearing loss are still of traditional working age (i.e.

This is illustrated through mandatory provision of ear protection on work sites and within factories. Furthermore, only 3% of the population had difficulty hearing anything other than faint speech.
Adults with hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed and earn less wages (Jung and Bhattacharyya, 2012). If we do the math, 90% of 8% of the population with a hearing loss works out to about 7% of the population. Persons with cochlear deficits fail OAE testing, while persons with 8th nerve deficits fail ABR testing.
If we do the math again, as only 8% of the population has a hearing loss at all, and 90% of them are sensorineural, this means that only 0.8% of the population has a conductive hearing loss.
Central hearing loss generally isn't helped to a great extent by medication or surgery, but preventing progression is important.
Sudden hearing loss as well as Congenital hearing loss may be due to sensorineural, conductive or central mechanisms. Association of hearing loss with decreased employment and income among adults in the United States .Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol.
Nevertheless, every day millions of Australians are exposing themselves to noise levels that will surely lead to long-term damage to their hearing, including the use of personal stereo systems. In US data between 1988 and 2006, mild or worse unilateral hearing loss (25 db or worse), is reported in 1.8% of adolescents. If you are older, statistics say that while many of your older associates may have the same problem, it will probably get worse, so you should prepare yourself and do your best to slow down the rate that it gets worse.
There was greater risk in individuals with work exposure to loud noises, lower socioeconomic background and in ethnic minorities.
Other things that cause conductive hearing losses are fluid in the middle ear, and disorders of the small bones (ossicles) in the middle ear.

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