Do you suffer from hearing loss? You’re not alone: According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 40 million men and women in the U.S. have some type of hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. Although many types of hearing loss may cause similar symptoms, they often have different underlying causes, and understanding those causes can help ensure you receive the best and most appropriate treatment to help you hear better.


Hearing loss can be divided into three broad categories or types:


Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, accounting for about 90 percent of all hearing problems. This type of hearing loss occurs when the nerves that help transmit sound waves from the external environment through the ear and to the brain become damaged, sometimes as a result of age-related changes in the ear and sometimes as a result of prolonged exposure to very loud noises. Some chronic or acute diseases can also cause sensorineural hearing problems, and long-term use of certain medicines including many cancer drugs can also contribute to this type of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss can often be effectively treated with hearing aids designed to improve the way the ear “hears” sounds, filtering out unnecessary background noises while amplifying important sounds like conversation, TV or other sounds.


Conductive hearing loss affects the way sounds move from one part of the ear to the other, and it’s often caused by issues like impacted earwax, infections and other issues that often can be corrected medically.


Mixed hearing loss is the third type of hearing loss, and as its name implies, it involves both sensorineural and conductive types of hearing problems.


No matter what type of hearing loss you have, it’s critically important to have it evaluated and treated. Studies have shown people with untreated hearing loss are also at higher risk for other serious issues, including depression and chronic anxiety, and recent research has also shown a link between untreated hearing problems and cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s disease.

The first step in treating a hearing loss is having a hearing test to determine the underlying cause. As a leading provider of hearing health services, Audibel offers free hearing tests and consultations aimed at helping every person find a hearing solution that’s right for their needs and their lives. With 17 locations in Northern and Southwestern Florida, scheduling a free hearing test couldn’t be easier. Visit our locations page and call the Audibel center nearest you today.