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Age (presbycusis) due to the destruction of the hair cells located in the cochlea that happen naturally as we age. Chronic diseases such as diabetes causing nerve damage to the auditory nerve, or cochlear nerve. Fluctuating: Hearing impairment changes, bouncing back and forth between good and bad, due to infection or blockage.
Diagnosis:Diagnosis of hearing impairment is accomplished through a battery of hearing tests that determine the type of loss, location, and the amount of damage incurred. Stem cell treatment: Still in the experimental stages of reproducing the hair cells in the cochlea, which are responsible for sending electrical impulses to the brain. Even though any type of discrimination against people with disabilities is against the law, it still happens to people who are hearing impaired. Some common causes of conductive hearing loss include outer ear infection, middle ear infection and perforation (hole) in the ear drum. Most cases of hearing loss stem from damage to the inner ear, where tiny hair cells turn sound vibrations into impulses that nerve cells then carry to the brain. We all know somebody affected by hearing loss, as nearly 1 in 5 Australians live with the condition. Quality of life can be significantly compromised for people with hearing loss and their families. In contradiction to many people's understanding, hearing loss is rarely similar to the effect of turning down the volume on a stereo. 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 online hearing tests 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. Hearing loss that originates in the inner ear is referred to as sensorineural hearing loss or - in laymen's terms, nerve deafness. While the overall volume of sound may be reduced, the clarity of sounds or voices is also affected. An example of a mixed hearing loss may be someone with inner ear damage due to exposure to noise in their workplace over many years, who also currently has an infection that has led to a fluid build up in the middle ear. 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. Nerves have different sensitivities to deformation of the sensory hair cells within the cochlea. Content and images provided on this page are under license and copyright of Spinach Effect Pty Ltd and must not be reproduced in any way without express permission.


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With an estimated 7.5 million adults in the UK suffering some form of hearing loss, it is concerning to learn that a new survey shows that over 60 per cent of people who visit their GP because they believe they many not ‘ hear as well as they used to’, are being referred to a specialist. Incredibly, of this figure, nearly 40 per cent will take no further action or seek help, yet medical experts believe that 3.5 million people require hearing aids!
Of the one in seven of those individuals affected by a hearing impairment, many will be as a result of hearing damage caused by years of exposure to excessive noise levels at their workplace. Too often, however, the sufferer will mistakenly think their reduced hearing is because of natural aging or simply a build up of ear wax! It is an understandable but common error to think that any slight or even more noticeable capacity to hear clearly is because of a simple blockage rather than a noise induced hearing loss, which is likely to be of a more permanent nature. Conductive Hearing Loss – occurs where sounds are unable to pass freely to the inner ear because of a blockage in the outer or middle ear, such as a build-up of excess ear wax or fluid from an ear infection. Other possible causes are as a result of an abnormality in the structure of the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear, or a ruptured eardrum. This type of hearing loss causes sounds to become quieter, although not usually distorted and can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause, and often corrected with medical management or minor surgery. Sensorineural Hearing Loss – a permanent, irreversible condition, caused by damage to the hair cells within the cochlea or the hearing nerve (or both).
The most common cause is regular and prolonged exposure to excessive sound levels as might be experienced by working alongside noisy factory machinery, equipment or vehicles and producing what is known as industrial deafness. A persons’ ability to hear quiet sounds is not only altered, but the quality of the sound heard is also reduced, leaving an increasing struggle to understand speech. It is therefore, crucial to immediately seek hearing loss advice if a slight change in hearing is detected and excessive noise levels are suspected, no matter if a considerable period of time has elapsed or symptoms persist.
Tests include: MRI, CT scan, tuning fork (Rinne test), auditory hearing test, audiogram, and Hearing in Noise Test (HINT). The type of hearing loss a person has depends on where the problem is located within the auditory pathway. The ear itself (which is also called the pinna), ear canal, and eardrum make up the portion of the pathway called the outer ear. Sensorineural hearing loss can be the result of inner ear infection, noise induced damage to the cochlea or loss due to aging (presbycusis). The most common causes of that damage are aging and chronic exposure to loud noises.A family history of severe hearing loss could signal that you’re at increased risk. The extent of the hearing loss varies too, from a mild to a severe hearing loss where loud safety signals may not be heard. 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.


People with sensorineural hearing loss will often hear people speaking, but can't always understand all the words, even when the volume is adequate. Studies have shown that exposure to noise is thought 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. A sound that has high frequencies of vibration will excite receptor cells near the opening of the cochlea, while a sound mostly containing low frequencies will stimulate cells at the end of the cochlea.
However, it is vitally important to confirm between the two conditions as early as possible.
Another cause could be as a result of a known condition causing abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear, which prevents the bones in the middle ear from moving freely, causing severe conductive hearing loss. While occurring naturally as part of the ageing process (known as presbycusis), there are many other contributory or additional causes.
Other causes can be some types of drugs used in the treatment of serious diseases such as cancer but also certain types of antibiotics, types of infectious diseases, e.g.
Once the cochlea hair cells become damaged, they will remain damaged for the rest of a person’s life.
The middle ear is composed of three tiny bones: the incus, malleus and stapes (also called the anvil, hammer, and stirrup). More commonly it is manifested as a difficulty with word understanding, particularly in the presence of background noise. This can lead to conversations being difficult to follow - particularly in noisy environments where competing background noise 'scrambles' speech and conversations. 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. Commonly, over time the high frequency hair cell receptors receive more movement by the incoming pressure waves of the fluid inside the cochlea - so are more prone to long term damage than the low frequency hair cell receptors, which are more protected further up the cochlea.
The inner ear is made up of the cochlea (the snail shaped structure) and the nerves that go up to the brain. The most common and easily treated form of conductive hearing loss is a large buildup of waxy secretion in the ear canal.
Not unsurprisingly, being able to follow conversations is the single biggest reason that people seek our help.
Hearing loss is classified as conductive if the problem is somewhere in the outer or middle ear pathway.



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