Q : What are the different types of hearing loss?

A : There are three types of hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss :

This impairment is a result of sound not reaching the inner ear ( i.e. Cochlea ). This is caused by the blockage or damage in the outer and/or middle ear and takes place when there is a gap between the air conduction and bone conduction of sound. Some of the common causes for the same could include wax build-up, a perforated ear drum, fluid in the middle ear, or damage to the bones in the middle ear.

Sensorineural Loss :

This impairment is a result of dysfunction of the inner ear, the Cochlea (sensory part) or the hearing nerve (neural part) and takes place when there is very little difference between air conduction and bone conduction of sound.

Mixed Hearing Loss:

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This happens when there is a problem in both the conductive pathway (outer & middle ear) and in the nervous part (inner ear).

Q : Do I need a hearing aid even if I have mild to moderate hearing loss?

A : According to the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), it is advisable to use a hearing aid even if one has mild hearing loss, so that the sounds which occur around the 40 to 60 decibel levels do not appear muffled. Such sounds are usually the low rumble of wheels against tarmac or that of machinery like the refrigerator.

Q : What is an audiogram?

A : An audiogram is a graphical representation of the intensity of one’s hearing loss. It is measured against the frequency level of a sound signal on the x-axis and its volume (dB) on the y-axis. It measures the air conduction as well as bone conduction loss levels in both the right and the left ear. An audiogram (which is obtained after audiometry) helps in diagnosis and selection of suitable amplification for the patient.

Q : What is speech therapy?

A : It is a kind of therapy that is meted out to individuals afflicted with speech impairment. It is also known as Speech Language Pathology (SLP) and involves a professional helping an individual with impaired speech properly express him/herself and phonologically process thoughts through vocal gestures and language. SLP is usually required for children who have speech disorder.

Q : What is tympanometry?

A : The ear drum is known as the tympanic membrane. Tympanometry is the test of the general, overall health of the middle ear, especially the ear drum. It is conducted to examine the presence of fluids, movement and sound conduction through the bones (malleus, incus and stapes). It is the acoustic evaluation conducted to obtain actionable quantitative medical information about the middle ear.