Hearing Loss Disorders Research

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If sound waves cannot pass effectively through the outer ear, eardrum, or middle ear, conductive hearing loss occurs. It typically involves being able to detect a faint sound or a change in sound quality. If the outer or middle ear is impaired or obstructed, sound cannot be conducted through the inner ear, resulting in conductive hearing loss. The ear canal and pinna are both located inside the outer ear. According to Sohmer and Cohen (432), the outer ear's function is to collect sound energy and concentrate it on the eardrum. The vibrations of the eardrum are transmitted through the inner ear membranes by the three ossicles in the middle ear. The middle ear has a significant role which is to effectively transmit acoustic energy to fluid–membrane waves within the cochlea. A number of factors that cause conductive hearing loss involve Benign tumors, the presence of a foreign body fluid, fluid in the middle ear from colds, impacted earwax (cerumen), allergies (serous otitis media), Swimmer's Ear (otitis ecxterna). Also, ear infection, Infection in the ear canal (external otitis), Poor eustachian tube function, Perforated eardrum or malfunction or lack of the ear canal, middle ear or the outer ear. An illness which can result in a severe conductive hearing loss is known as otosclerosis, which causes the bone in the middle ear to grow abnormally. The excess bones prevent free movement of the ossicles within the middle ear. Usually, surgery and medicine can be used to correct conductive hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss takes place if either or both of the auditory nerve and the tiny hair-like cells of the inner ear (cochlea) is damaged that weakens or prevents nerve signals to be transferred to the brain (Merchant, Saumil and Rosowski, 282). The cochlea is the sensory organ of hearing while the auditory nerve carries sound and equilibrium information from the cochlea to the brain which interprets sounds. Other than sensorineural hearing loss ability to reduce the sound quality being heard, the condition also alters with the ability of a person to hear a quiet sound, implying that people who have sensorineural hearing loss regularly strive to understand speech. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by a number of factors which include exposure to loud noise, malfunction of the inner ear, head trauma, aging, drugs toxic to hearing, illness and it can also be as a result of genetics, that is a hearing loss within the family lineage. Sensorineural hearing loss is associated or can be caused by a condition known as Meniere’s. It is an illness of the inner ear that results in the feeling of fullness in the ear, ringing in the ear(tinnitus), hearing loss which fluctuates, episodes of vertigo or pressure in the ear.

A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss causes mixed hearing loss, meaning that auditory nerve or the inner ear or middle ear or the outer ear may be damaged (Sohmer and Cohen, 435). It is a permanent hearing loss. Factors which can cause mixed hearing loss include specific medications, genetic predisposition and overexposure to loud music. This condition can also be caused by causes of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss such as head injuries, tumors, infections, diseases and birth defects. Whereas at times it can be possible to treat conductive and sensorineural hearing loss with drug therapy, corticosteroids and antibiotics, it is complex to treat mixed hearing loss. The treatments mentioned above might be combined with cochlear implants, hearing aids and medical surgery depending on the factors that resulted in the various kinds of hearing loss.

Works Cited

Merchant, Saumil N., and John J. Rosowski. "Conductive hearing loss caused by third-window lesions of the inner ear."Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology 29.3 (2008): 282.

Sohmer, H., and D. Cohen. "Responses of the auditory pathway in several types of hearing loss."Electrocochleography. University Park Press, Baltimore, Md, 1976. 431-437.

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