Hearing loss is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It can happen gradually or suddenly, and it's essential to find out as soon as possible if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss. Unfortunately, there are so many different types of hearing loss, and it can be difficult to know what type you have. This article will help guide you through the basics of hearing loss, how to diagnose it and what your treatment options are. 

What Are the Causes of Hearing Loss?

The first thing to understand is that several factors can cause hearing loss. It isn't always something you're born with or develop gradually over time, although those are common causes as well. Sometimes hearing problems happen suddenly and without warnings, such as through trauma or infection. In other cases, people may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more likely to experience certain types of hearing loss later in life if they don't take care of their ears now.

What are the Symptoms of Hearing Loss?

The most common symptoms of hearing loss are a ringing in the ears or muffled sounds. Some people may experience pain, dizziness and nausea as well if they have an ear infection or a problem with their middle or inner ear.

What Types of Hearing Loss Exist?

You might hear your doctor refer to conductive, sensorineural and mixed hearing loss when talking about potential diagnoses for patients who come into his office complaining that they're having trouble listening. These three different kinds of hearing losses all cause problems for people trying to listen but work through the auditory system differently: 

  • Conductive hearing loss: This type is caused by sound waves not being able to enter the inner ear due to something blocking its path. 
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This type results from damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve. 
  • Mixed hearing loss: The term mixed simply means that both of these types are present, either at once or over time, as one problem gets worse and then another develops later on.

How to Find Out If You Have Hearing Loss

If you think that you might be experiencing hearing loss, it's important to schedule an appointment with an audiologist so they can diagnose the problem and potentially treat it. This way, they'll have insight into how bad your hearing is right now, but also get an idea if anything else could be causing the issue besides just not being able to hear well on its own.

What Are the Treatment Options for Hearing Loss? 

There are several different treatment options for people with hearing loss. The most common option is to wear a custom-made set of hearing aids that amplify all sounds equally so you can hear things more easily again but don't have to turn it up too loud. The benefits of hearing aids are that they are discreet and work right away once you've been fitted for them.

Hearing loss is a problem that can affect anyone. The best way to approach it is to be aware of the potential causes and symptoms, then get help from an audiologist if you think your hearing may have gotten worse recently.