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When we lose our hearing, we lose the ability to engage with family, friends and the wider world. Our hearing also helps us experience many of the great joys in life: a baby's giggle, waves crashing on the beach, and the emotion of a musical masterpiece.
Importantly, hearing is a sense that doesn’t sleep – keeping us safe, alerting us to sounds and waking us when there’s an unfamiliar noise. It even helps us decipher where a sound is coming from, be it the call of a loved one or the direction of traffic.
In many cases, someone won't realise their hearing has diminished. It's often others who notice the signs first.
There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed.
A sensorineural loss is a permanent hearing loss. It is commonly referred to as ‘nerve deafness’, and occurs when the sensitive hair cells inside the inner part ear of the ear get damaged and no longer respond effectively to sound. Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are damage from noise exposure and aging.
A conductive hearing loss may be curable or permanent. Conductive refers to the fact that the sound is not being conducted, or sent through, the outer or middle ear properly on its way into the inner ear. Typical causes of conductive loss include fluid in the middle ear from an ear infection, wax impaction in the ear canal, and otosclerosis (a deformation of the ear bones).
A mixed hearing loss occurs when a person has both a conductive and sensorineural loss at the same time.
After your consultation, should a loss be assessed, your Can:Do Hearing audiologist will be able to explain the type of hearing loss you have.