Understanding Common Causes of Hearing Loss: Symptoms and Treatments

Many different causes can produce hearing loss, some of which can be favorably treated with drugs or surgery, depending on the disease process.

Three Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss -this form of hearing loss is caused problems in the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear and its little bones ( the malleus, incus, and stapes)
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) this is caused by problems of the inner ear, also known as a nerve-related hearing loss.
Mixed Hearing Loss – relates to a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This means that there can be damage to the outer ear as well as well as the middle ear (cochlea or auditory nerve.

Conductive Hearing Loss Causes:

  • Fluid inside the middle ear from a cold or flu
  • Allergies
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Poor Eustachian tube function
  • Ear infection (otitis media – this is an infection within the middle ear, which the collection of fluid may
  • interfere with the mobility of the eardrum and ossicles.
  • Malformation of the outer ear canal or middle ear structures
  • Buildup of earwax
  • Foreign body in the ear
  • Otosclerosis
  • Benign tumors

What are the treatments of Conductive Hearing Loss?

The different types of conductive hearing loss which include congenital absence of the ear canal or the failure for the ear canal to open at birth, malformation congenital absence, or dysfunction of the middle ear structures, these all may be surgically corrected. If these are not amenable to successful surgical correction, then hearing may also be improved with the application of a bone conduction hearing aid, or conventional hearing aid or a surgically implanted, osseointegrated device or a convention hearing aid, depending on the state of the hearing nerve.

Additional causes of conductive hearing loss are tumors, infections, fluid from infection in the middle ear or Eustachian tube dysfunction, trauma ( such as a fracture) or foreign body. Acute infections are frequently treated with anti-fungal or antibiotic medications. Chronic ear infections, Chronic middle fluid, and tumors generally may need surgery. If there is no response to initial medical therapy, infections middle ear fluid is usually treated with antibiotics – although chronic non-infectious middle ear fluid is treated with surgery or pressure equalizing tubes.

Conductive Hearing loss from head trauma is typically treated by surgical repair to the damaged middle ear structures; This procedure is performed after the patients’ general medical status is stable and severe injuries have begun to heal.

Otosclerosis is a genetic form of conductive hearing loss, in which, there is a bony fixation of the stapes ( the little bone of hearing in the middle ear) in which sound can not get into the middle ear. Otosclerosis commonly occurs with hearing the loss in early adulthood. Otosclerosis can correct by it surgery to replace the immobile stapes with a mobile stapes prosthesis or with a hearing aid. Studies suggest that the measles virus can contribute to stapes fixation in those with genetic risk to otosclerosis. The occurrence of otosclerosis has decreased with fewer cases of the measles due to measles vaccination. Otosclerosis is a disorder in which bone growth forms are surrounding a small bone in the middle ear, preventing it from reverberating when stimulated by sound, usually causing a conductive hearing loss. Less frequently, otosclerosis can cause a sensorineural hearing loss where the sensory cells and nerve fibers of the inner ear, as well as a conductive hearing loss occurs.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Causes:

  • Head trauma
  • Virus of disease
  • Exposure to Loud Noise
  • Hearing loss, that is genetic
  • Aging (presbycusis)
  • Malformation of the inner ear
  • Tumors
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Otosclerosis – a genetic disorder in which a bony growth develops around a small bone in middle ear, preventing the bone from vibrating and being stimulated by sound
  • Autoimmune inner ear disease

Treatment of Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
Sensorineural hearing loss can result in acoustic trauma ( or exposure to excessively loud noise) which may respond to medical therapy with corticosteroids to eliminate cochlear hair cell swelling and information to improve the hearing of the injury inner ear structures.

Sensorineural ear loss can happen from head trauma inureis, a sudden change in air pressure such as airplane descent; which can cause inner ear fluid compartment rupture or leak, causing toxicity to the inner ear. There has been some success with emergency surgery in this case.

Sudden sensorineural is hearing loss, presumed to be of viral origin, is an ontological energy that is medically treated with corticosteroids.

Bilateral progressive hearing loss over many months also diagnosed as auto-immune inner ear disease is treated medically with long-term corticosteroids and occasionally with medical therapy. Autoimmune inner ear diseases are when the body’s immune system is unable to defend against bacterial, viruses of foreign bodies, or misdirect its defenses in the inner ear to cause damage to the body.

The fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss may be unknown from cause or linked with Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Menier’s disease are hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vertigo, Meniere’s disease may be treated medically with a low sodium diet, diuretics, and corticosterods. If the vertigo is not medically controlled, then various surgical procedures are used to eliminate vertigo.

Sensorial hearing loss from tumors of the balance nerve adjacent to the hearing nerve is not reverse with surgical removal or irradtion of these benign tumors. If the hearing loss is mild and the tumors are minuscule. On average hearing can be saved in 50% of the cases of people undergoing hearing preservation surgery for tumor removal.

Sensorineural hearing loss from illness in the central nervous system may respond to medical issues fo the specific the nervous system. An example of hearing loss secondary to multiple sclerosis may be reversed with treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Irreversible sensorineural hearing loss, the most common, a form of hearing loss, may be managed with hearing aids. When hearing aids are not sufficient, this type of hearing loss can be surgically treated with cochlear implants.

Treatment for Mixed Hearing Loss

Treatment fo Mixed hearing loss would be a combination of conductive, sensorineural solutions.