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Hearing Loss Nerve Damage

Loss of hearing can occur due to damage or injury to any part of the ear or its internal auditory structures. The different parts of the ear are inner chambers, middle ear, and external ear. These parts consist of the structures that help in receiving sounds and sending them to the brain in the form of electrical impulses or vibrations for recognition and analysis. Hearing impairment comes about when any of these components suffer from nerve damage due to illness, infection or injury. The three types of hearing loss include conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss nerve damage is caused when movement of sound from outer ear to inner ear gets stopped due to some reason. Possible causes include:

  • Otitis media – middle ear infection.
  • Accumulation of wax in the outer ear.
  • Otitis media with effusion causing accumulation of fluid in the middle ear.  
  • Head injury or infection causing damage to the ossicles.
  • Perforated eardrum caused due to infection, injury or heavy blow to the ear.
  • Otosclerosis, a condition in which the ossicles get hardened so it’s not able to vibrate enough.
Here’s some more information on conductive hearing loss. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of (hearing loss nerve damage) is caused when the path between the brain and the inner ear gets damaged due to infection or injury. It affects the intensity of sound getting transmitted from ear to the brain. The condition makes it difficult to identify complex sounds. Possible causes include: 

  • Ageing: The process of ageing results in natural decline in the ability of ear to pass sounds to the brain. This also happens due to damage to hair cells present in the cochlea.
  • Infections such as meningitis, mumps, and measles.
  • Damage due to loud noises.
  • Medications such as high doses of strong antibiotics which adversely affects the ability to hear sounds.
  • Ménière's disease resulting in tinnitus characterized by continuous ringing sound in the ear, and dizziness.
  • Acoustic Neuroma – a benign tumor that affects the auditory system resulting in tinnitus and deafness.
  • Cancer treatment methods such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
  • Cholesteatoma: An abnormal skin growth in the middle part of the ear. It may cause vertigo and deafness.
Here’s some more information on sensorineural hearing loss. Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. The symptoms are seen in the inner as well as middle part of the ear. In such cases, one condition may lead to another. Instances of mixed hearing loss include:

  • A person suffering from a permanent condition of sensorineural hearing loss may develop conductive hearing loss at a later stage.
  • The inner and outer ear are malformed, resulting in mixed hearing loss.
  • In some cases, it may be possible to treat the conductive part but the sensorineural condition is permanent.
Here’s more information on mixed hearing loss. Diagnosis and Treatment

Hearing loss may be sudden or gradual. A physician or ear specialist may conduct certain hearing tests apart from physical examination of the ear to detect the exact cause and type of the problem. Treatment is given based on the extent of the condition. Some treatments include medication, hearing aid assistance, and surgery.