What can go wrong with hearing? What levels of hearing loss are there, and how bad can hearing loss be?

There are four levels of hearing loss but lots can go wrong in your ears!

There are as many different problems as there are parts of the ear… And each one can affect hearing to different degrees.

Let’s remind ourselves of the structure of the ear…

On the left is the outer part of the ear – moving into the inner ear canal.

Hearing complaints that affect this part of the ear are called conductive hearing loss. They tend to make sounds quieter than they should be and often it’s a temporary issue.

All sorts of things can affect hearing loss… Infections and cysts, physical damage to the parts of the ear, and even just a build-up of wax. Gross!

As we get further into the inner ear, this is where sensorineural hearing loss occurs.

It’s another complicated sounding name, but it’s all to do with the connections from the ear to the brain.

The tiny hairs carry information to the brain and if they’re damaged, the brain just can’t get the signals.

Once hairs are damaged, they can’t be repaired so it’s really important to protect your hearing and only listen to music or video games at a safe level!

Sometimes it’s not just loudness that’s the problem, but a lack of clarity in what you hear – things just sound muffled.

Another type of hearing loss is central hearing loss. This is caused by problems inside the brain – some people just can’t interpret any information from the ears.

It might be something you’re born with or might be a result of an injury or illness.

Each problem can be more or less serious and more or less treatable. We classify hearing loss into four groups – Mild, Moderate, Severe and Profound.

When you have Normal hearing – you can hear a wide range of sounds – from the quiet rustling of leaves to a ticking clock.

With Mild and Moderate hearing loss, you might be able to hear conversations if you’re close to the speaker and hear a door bell. But sounds quieter might be lost.

If you suffer Severe hearing loss, you’d only be able to hear very loud sounds like a crying baby.

And people with Profound hearing loss may not be able to hear any sounds at all – or only the very loudest sounds – like a loud road drill.

Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk is now open and is answering all of your hearing questions!

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Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk, with support from Phonak


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