Mixed Hearing Loss

older man with severe hearing loss

Both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss are possible. In reality, the term “mixed hearing loss” describes situations in which both are present. As one type, mixed hearing loss is a “double” form of hearing loss. Different symptoms may be present in persons with mixed hearing loss compared to sensorineural or conductive hearing loss. It is classified as a distinct kind as a result.

Sensorineural hearing loss makes up about one-half of the total. This indicates that the inner ear structure known as the cochlea has degraded. The spiral-shaped cochlea is covered in microscopic hairs that detect sound. It gets harder to hear sounds as these hairs start to deteriorate. This hearing loss frequently happens gradually, and particular noises or frequencies will be the first to leave. Although this type of hearing loss is mainly irreversible, it can be managed using cochlear implants and hearing aids.

The remaining half is conductive hearing loss. Since many different factors might contribute to temporary conductive hearing loss, this problem is a little more complicated. It is primarily described as a middle ear obstruction that prevents sound from entering the outer ear. This obstruction can be caused by benign conditions like fluid or earwax or by more severe problems like abnormal bone growth or malignancies. Your hearing loss may be treatable, depending on what’s causing it. Your hearing should be better after the obstruction is removed.

If you or a loved one is suffering from mixed hearing loss, or you suspect they might need a diagnosis, this article can fill you in on the symptoms, treatment, and causes of mixed hearing loss. You can then get the JGlasses professional assistance you require.

What Are the Causes of Mixed Hearing Loss?

Noise exposure is the leading cause of sensorineural hearing loss. The cochlea or auditory nerve can deteriorate with prolonged exposure to loud noise, leading to sensorineural hearing loss. This makes noisy settings like clubs, and shooting ranges potentially hazardous.

Numerous reasons can contribute to conductive hearing loss, including:

  • Abnormal bone growth
  • Punctured/ruptured eardrums
  • Tumours
  • Infections
  • Earwax buildup
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Foreign objects

Mixed Hearing Loss Audiogram

The red half squares (the bone conduction) in the audiograms above are abnormal, which differs from the ones above. There is a malfunction in the inner ear.

mixed hearing loss audiogram

Image via earsandhearinguk.com

It only sounds that are loud enough to be heard below the black circles can still be heard. The hearing would be better but still abnormal if the conductive component of the hearing loss could be fixed. Although the patient’s hearing loss would still be present, it would not be as severe.

What Are the Symptoms of Mixed Hearing Loss?

Individuals with combined hearing loss may have different symptoms. Depending on the severity of the condition, people with mixed hearing loss can range in deafness from hardly noticeable to profoundly deaf. Both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss can affect one or both ears, but their symptoms can vary.

It’s best to link symptoms to their corresponding causes when talking about signs. The sensorineural manifestations of mixed hearing loss look like this:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss affects both ears bilaterally, that is, in both ears.
  • In noisy environments, speech may be impossible to understand. The “cocktail party” effect is what is meant by this.
  • Some sounds, such as speech consonants, may be challenging to hear.
  • Tinnitus, ear ringing, buzzing, humming, or roaring, hearing high-pitched noises with difficulty.

Conduction hearing loss can also cause more “physical” symptoms like:

  • Hearing loss is unilateral, where one ear can hear better than the other.
  • One or both ears may feel pressured, painful, or “full.”
  • Leaking from the ear canal or odd smells.
  • You don’t recognise the way your voice sounds.

A range of “side effect” symptoms, many of which are mental and emotional, can result from untreated hearing loss. Before receiving therapy, many patients with hearing loss may not be aware that these symptoms are due to their hearing loss.

  • A feeling of irritability or frustration.
  • Sound lacks delight (music, conversation, etc.)
  • Avoiding interactions and situations in social settings.
  • Despair or feelings of loneliness.
  • Mental tiredness or experiencing excessive fatigue at the end of the day.

There is a likelihood that both types of hearing loss are present if symptoms from both the sensorineural and conductive lists are present.

Types of Mixed Hearing Loss

Various medical terminology can refer to specific types of mixed hearing loss. Unilateral mixed hearing loss is when the patient only experiences it on one side. Bilateral mixed hearing loss is used when it occurs on both sides. The severity of mixed hearing loss might be mild, moderate, severe, profound, or even entire.

It is referred to as symmetrical mixed hearing loss if the pattern is the same in both ears. It is referred to as asymmetrical if it differs in each ear. In addition, the hearing frequencies affected by mixed hearing loss can be further characterised. High and low frequency are two frequent terms used to describe frequency sensitivity.

What Treatments Are Available for Mixed Hearing Loss?

Depending on the underlying cause of the conductive component of mixed hearing loss, medicinal or surgical methods can frequently be used to treat it. With a few rare exceptions, therapeutic or surgical treatments are typically ineffective for treating mixed hearing loss sensorineural components. The most likely kind of medical or surgical intervention combined with sound amplification from conventional hearing aid will be the treatment for mixed hearing loss. But it’s crucial to remember that each case of mixed hearing loss is distinct. Our JGlasses hearing aids Singapore specialist can determine the possibilities that are open to you so contact us today for a professional hearing test.