People often blame their difficulty in hearing on people “speaking too softly”. More often than not, these individuals have hearing loss. Hearing is determined by an audiogram (Hearing Test). The degree of hearing is then calculated in decibels. Hearing loss may be divided into two types, Conductive and Sensorineural.
A Conductive hearing loss is due to abnormalities of the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear structures which block the conduction of sound into the inner ear. Therefore, wax in the ear, a hole in the eardrum, or fluid behind the eardrum may cause conductive hearing loss which usually is treatable and may resolve completely.
A Sensorineural hearing loss, or nerve hearing loss, is due to problems with the inner ear or with the nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss may not be correctable and is often permanent. It worsens with age and is common in the elderly. However, sensorineural hearing loss can also be associated with birth trauma, neurologic disease, tumors of the nerve of hearing, trauma to the head, as well as certain medications and toxins. Sensorineural hearing loss can be treated in many cases with hearing aids.