Otosclerosis is the most common cause of conductive hearing loss in adults. A disorder of the middle ear bones, Otosclerosis is caused by a build-up of calcium around the stapes, preventing it from vibrating and sending sound signals to the inner ear. Over 90% of people with otosclerosis can regain normal hearing through surgical treatment.
Otitis media, also called middle ear infection, is the most common cause of conductive hearing loss among children, but can also occur in adults. Otitis media, which occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed and filled with fluid, can prevent the ear drum from vibrating properly, resulting in temporary hearing loss. This inflammation can be the result of a virus or respiratory infection. Typical symptoms include swelling, redness, earaches, irritation, hearing loss, fever and ear drainage. Most cases of otitis media can be cured by antibiotics prescribed by a physician. In some cases of persistent otitis media, surgical treatment, such as the insertion of ventilating tubes, may be required.
Temporary blockage (e.g. allergies, outer ear infections such as swimmer’s ear, build-up of earwax or fluid due to cold)
Perforation of the ear drum
Fractured middle ear bone
Sensorineural hearing loss, also known as nerve deafness, accounts for 90% of adult hearing problems. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the hair cells in the cochlea (inner ear) become damaged and sound can’t reach the brain (where sound is processed). Once the hair cells have been damaged, they cannot be repaired, making sensorineural hearing loss permanent. Hearing aids can help in most cases.
Like conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss usually results in the overall reduction in the loudness of sounds. However, sensorineural hearing loss also causes sounds to become distorted.
Hearing loss caused by the natural aging process is called Presbycusis. All of us gradually begin to lose hair cells as we age. As this happens our hearing becomes less acute. Around the age of 60 to 65, about 30% of the population have a hearing loss that is significant enough to affect their ability to hear everyday sounds, such as speech.
The first sign of Presbycusis is usually a reduction in the ability to hear high-frequency sounds, such as s, t, k, p, t, resulting in speech sounding muffled. This means that you can hear someone talking, but you can’t tell if they said “sit” or “kit”. Gradually the mid and low frequency tones may also be affected.
Excessive exposure to noise is one of the most common – yet also one of the most preventable – causes of permanent hearing loss. Every exposure to loud noise will cause some degree of temporary hearing loss; repeated exposure over a number of years will result in the gradual, painless process of permanent hearing loss.