About hearing loss
A hearing loss can occur anywhere in the auditory system. If it occurs in the outer or the middle ear, it is called a conductive hearing loss. If it occurs in the inner ear or in the nerve fibres, it is called a sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing loss affects people of all ages. Hearing naturally deteriorates with age, and this is still the most common type of hearing loss. However, a hearing loss is much more than just the inability to hear loudly enough.
Disturbances connected to the auditory system
People with a hearing loss can have problems hearing and localising a sound source. They may also have a discrimination loss - that is, difficulty discriminating words from each other, even if they are fairly loud. They can hear the words of a sentence, but fail to understand the spoken message.
Other disturbances in the auditory system include tinnitus or hyperacusis.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sound such as a rushing or ringing sound or white noise that can vary in intensity and be constant or periodic. Tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss.
Hyperacusis is when a person finds it very difficult to tolerate everyday sounds that most other people find acceptable and natural.
Left: a conductive hearing loss. Right: a sensorineural hearing loss.