Hearing_Loss_ENT_Denver

Conductive Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is considered conductive when there is a problem with sound passing through the outer or middle ear systems, such as the ear canal, the eardrum and/or the three bones connected to the eardrum. Common reasons for this type of hearing loss are a plug of excess wax in the ear canal, fluid behind the eardrum, holes in the eardrum, and conditions such as Otosclerosis. Medical treatment or surgery may be available for this type of hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is sensorineural when it results from damage to the inner ear, including the cochlea (our organ of hearing) or auditory nerve, often as a result of the aging process or significant noise exposure. Sounds may be unclear and/or too soft. Sensitivity to loud sounds may also occur. Medical or surgical intervention cannot correct most sensorineural hearing losses. However, hearing aids may help you reclaim some sounds that you are missing.

Mixed Hearing Loss

A hearing loss that is considered mixed in nature has both components of a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. In this case, there may be a potentially temporary hearing loss caused by the outer or middle ear, in addition to a more permanent hearing loss due to inner ear damage.

Some conditions related to hearing that we see and treat often in our patients include:

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of a noise, such as ringing, buzzing, hissing, etc., in one or both ears, without an actual external source being present. While there is no absolute cure for tinnitus, there are various treatment methods that can help reduce the severity of it and/or your perception of it. See the “Tinnitus” tab for more information.

Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis is a condition where there is abnormal bone growth within the ear, causing the bones in the middle ear to be fixed and not vibrate and move properly

Eustachian tube dysfunction

Failure of the valve in the tube that equalizes pressure in the ear to not open/close properly, causing a buildup of negative pressure in the middle ear space

Otitis Media

Inflammation of the middle ear characterized by the accumulation of infected fluid in the middle ear space, bulging of the eardrum, pain in the ear and, if eardrum is perforated, drainage into the ear canal

Otitis Externa

Infection of the outer ear canal that leads to the ear drum, usually due to bacteria, fungus, and is often referred to as ‘swimmer’s ear’

Meniere’s Disease

A disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you’re spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. It is characterized by endolymphatic hydrops, which refers to increased hydraulic pressure within the inner ear system

Presbycusis

Also known as age-related hearing loss, it is the cumulative effect of aging on hearing

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Hearing loss caused by excessive exposure to damaging noise levels. This causes permanent and irreversible damage to the inner ear

Tympanosclerosis

A condition caused by hyalinization and subsequent calcification of subepithelial connective tissue of the eardrum. In other words, a hardening or thickening of portions of the ear drum, which can prohibit sound from passing through properly

Cholesteatoma

An abnormal skin growth that develops typically in the middle ear space behind the eardrum

Hearing Loss and Dementia

There is a strong correlation between untreated hearing loss and dementia. Adults with untreated mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, which increases to 5 times as likely for people with severe hearing loss. People over the age of 75 have a 30-40% faster decline in cognitive abilities compared to peers without hearing loss.

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