At Ear Specialists of Omaha, we are experts at understanding hearing loss. In general, we consider three aspects in conjunction with hearing loss – the type of loss, the degree of loss, and the configuration of the loss. When working with a pediatric population, it is critical to diagnose and treat any hearing loss as early as we can to limit any potential damage and to reduce the possible impacts on a child’s learning abilities and cognitive development. Hearing loss can have a profound impact that the adult population as well – limiting social interaction, causing problems on the job, and effecting one’s overall well-being and health.
Type of loss
Conductive Hearing Loss happens when sound does not transmit effectively from the outer ear to the middle ear and eardrum. Conductive loss can often be treated medically or with surgery.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss happens when damage is found in the inner ear or the cochlea. When there is permanent hearing loss, it is most often sensorineural.
Mixed Hearing Loss is simply a combination of conductive and sensorineural, when elements of both are present.
Degree of loss
The degree of hearing loss refers to the relative severity of the loss and is measured in decibels (Db HL). This can range from Normal loss (-10 to 15 Db HL) to Profound (91+ Db HL).
Configuration of loss
The configuration of loss considers the degree and pattern of the loss across frequencies or tones. So if the loss occurs only in the higher tones, the loss would be a high-frequency hearing loss. Similarly, if the loss occurs in the lower tones, it would a low-frequency hearing loss.