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What does hearing loss mean? How can I recognize and understand hearing loss?

Did you know that there are different forms of hearing loss? You may also be wondering how hearing loss can occur in the first place. This article explains the causes and types of all types of hearing loss. If you have any additional questions, we will be happy to help and advise you. Just give us a call or send us an email.

Usually a gradual development

Studies have shown that most people in Germany wait an average of seven years before actually doing something about a hearing problem. Did you know that in most cases hearing loss develops very slowly and is therefore not noticed for a long time? The faster you act, the better!

With modern possibilities and hearing aids you can improve your quality of life enormously. If you take action early on, you can also positively influence and even minimize the effects of hearing loss. Usually everything depends on the severity of the hearing loss when it comes to the optimal treatment.

The three forms of hearing loss

Medically speaking, there are three types of hearing loss:


  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • combined hearing loss

There is also an auditory processing disorder or perception disorder. The abbreviation for this is AVWS. All of these types of hearing loss have one thing in common in that they can decrease your hearing ability. Your quality of life will drop immediately. Conversations are very exhausting for you and you have to turn up the TV or your music very loudly. If your children or grandchildren whisper something to you, you can no longer understand it well.

Another word for conductive hearing loss is conductive hearing loss.

The intact inner ear is not reached by the sound vibrations due to a disturbance in the outer or middle ear. The mechanical sound transport in the ear is impaired. As a result, your hearing will decrease. You notice that especially with the language. You hear harder on all frequencies.

Here, too, there are two distinctions:


  • temporarily
  • permanent

If it is temporary conductive hearing loss, it will only happen if, for example, a hearing bone in your middle ear is inflamed or blocked. However, this can be remedied by surgery or medication.

In the permanent variant, the transmission of sound to the inner ear is permanently disturbed. Then only a hearing aid that increases the sound pressure can help. We would be happy to help you choose the right hearing aid. You can rely on our team of experts!

How does conductive hearing loss develop?

This type of hearing loss can have different reasons and causes. The first thing to do is determine whether the problem is temporary or permanent. It will also determine whether the outer ear or the inner ear, or perhaps both, are affected.

Typical temporary causes include, for example, earwax plugs, but there can also be a foreign body in the ear canal. Even an inflammation of the ear canal can contribute to temporary conductive hearing loss.

Examples of permanent disturbances:

  • Malformation of the auricle
  • malformed ear canal
  • chronic otitis media
  • a hole in the eardrum
  • Diseased auditory bone in the inner ear

In very few cases it actually happens that a bone forms in the cochlea and grows irregularly. This stiffens everything so that the sound can no longer be passed on properly.

What does sensorineural hearing loss mean?

All nerve parts and the hair cells that convert the sound only function to a limited extent. Most of the time, the inner ear is damaged accordingly. Certain frequencies can then no longer reach the brain. The entire sound is then no longer perceived or only perceived in a changed manner. In most cases the language is wrong or falsified and understood differently. Certain sounds can be dropped. Words or vowels that sound very similar lead to hearing impairment.

However, the volume is perceived unchanged. With a good hearing aid, the loss of hearing can be compensated relatively well.

What is the reason?

When the inner ear has been damaged by noise, this type of hearing loss occurs. However, a virus can also be to blame for an infection. Examples of possible reasons are:

  •  Age degeneration
  • rubella
  • measles
  • mumps
  • genetic hearing loss
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Head trauma
  • tumor

What does combined hearing loss mean?

A combined hearing loss is made up of the two types of hearing loss mentioned above. This means that both the outer, the inner and the middle ear are damaged. How the hearing loss affects the hearing in this combined variant is individual. It all depends on which hearing loss is more severe.

Depending on the degree of hearing loss, the appropriate treatment method is used. If the hearing loss is mild or temporary, medication can help. If, on the other hand, the hearing loss is moderate, suitable hearing aids are usually used. In a very severe case of combined hearing loss, it may be necessary to insert an implant.

It is usually your ear, nose and throat doctor who makes the decision about what is the right treatment for your hearing loss. Your hearing care professional can also be of great help.

How does a combined hearing loss arise?

There are many unrelated causes that can contribute to combined hearing loss. The inner ear may also be involved. The reasons mentioned above can also be the cause.

What is an auditory processing disorder and perception disorder?

For you, an auditory disorder, processing disorder and perception disorder means that the information you hear cannot be properly processed. Mainly the disturbed auditory nerves are affected, which are normally supposed to transmit all information to your brain. Sometimes the central nervous system is also affected. In many cases, however, only one ear is affected.


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