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Feeling Dizzy or Off-Balance?

Types Of Hearing Loss


How Do We Hear ?

The are different causes of hearing loss that affect all ages, including: 

- Heredity

- Disease

- The Aging Process

- Trauma

- Noise Exposure

There are 3 types of Hearing Loss:

- Conductive Hearing Loss: 

Occurs when the transmission of sound through the outer and/or middle ear is interrupted.  This can often be treated by surgical or medical intervention; some types of conductive hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids.

- Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

Occurs from damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways that travel from the inner ear to the brain (retrocochlear).  Cannot be treated surgically or medically.  This type of hearing loss is permanent but can be treated with hearing aids.

- Mixed Hearing Loss:

Is a combination of sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss.  This may occur if there is damage within the outer or middle as well as the inner ear.

A Basic Explanation

Sound is collected by the auricle or pinna and travels through the ear canal.  Sound strikes the eardrum and causes it to vibrate.  The vibrating eardrum causes the bones (ossicles) to vibrate and mechanically conduct the sound through the middle ear to the inner ear. 

At this point, sound is converted to an electrical impulse by the movement of fluid moving over tiny hair cells (or nerve endings) in the inner ear. 

This electrical impulse then travels along the auditory nerve to the brain.

To learn more, visit The Mayo Clinic How We Hear

You are not alone!  It is estimated that at least half the US population will be affected by dizziness or balance problems during their lifetime.

Balance disorders that cause dizziness may create a variety of problems including:

- Vertigo (a sensation of spinning or rotation)

- Lightheadedness (feeling faint, particularly noticeable when standing)

- Disorientation (feeling disconnected from , and out of sync with, one's environment)

- Disequilibrium (feeling off balance, unsteady, or the inability to walk a straight line

- Visual Blurring (decreased visual clarity associated with head movement)

- Anxiety (a sense of discomfort, even fear, of moving about in open, public spaces)

- Fear of Falling (falls, or even a serious stumble, which can reduce one's mobility and sense of independence)

..... All of which interfere with quality of life and may lead to serious falls.

How can the Audiologist help?

Audiologist are trained to understand vestibular function, and many participate in the non-medical evaluation and treatment of patients who are experiencing dizziness. 

The Audiologist's evaluation of your dizziness and/or balance problem may use a number of highly technical tests and procedure to identify the course of the problem:

- Advanced Diagnostic Hearing Tests

- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

- Videonystagmography (VNG)

- Electronystagmography (ENG)

- Dynamic Visual Acuity Testing

You should call a physician immediately if:

- There is active drainage from your ear

- You experience sudden hearing loss

- Fluctuations in your hearing

- You have sudden or ongoing dizziness

- You have pain or discomfort in the ear