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Hearing Loss

In general, three types of hearing impairment exist: conductive, sensorineural (“nerve”), or mixed hearing impairment (which is a combination of both a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss).

Conductive Hearing Loss
This type of loss is due to an outer ear or a middle ear problem. Some of the causes of conductive hearing loss include: ear wax, a hole or perforation of the eardrum, fluid behind the ear drum, a middle ear cyst (cholesteatoma), and otosclerosis.
Sensorineural or “nerve” hearing loss
This type of loss is due to an inner ear or hearing nerve problem. Sensorineural or “nerve” hearing loss is most commonly treated with a hearing aid.
In persons who are severely or profoundly hearing impaired in both ears, a cochlear implant is a possible treatment option. A cochlear implant is an electronic device surgically implanted into the inner ear. It bypasses damaged parts of the inner ear and electronically stimulates the hearing nerve.
For persons with deafness in one ear (single-sided deafness), a bone-anchored hearing device or Baha (a semi-implantable hearing device) is a treatment option.
Mixed hearing loss
This type of hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss. Treatment depends of the severity of the conductive and sensorineural portions of the hearing loss.

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

Smoking
Current smokers are 1.69 times more likely, or have a 70% higher risk, to have hearing loss than nonsmokers
Diabetes
Hearing loss is about twice as common in people with diabetes compared to those without diabetes. Adults with pre-diabetes, whose blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis, have a 30% higher rate of hearing loss compared to those with normal blood sugar.
Heart Health
The inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow. Studies have shown that a healthy cardiovascular system—a person's heart, arteries and veins—has a positive effect on hearing. The opposite is true; inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear contribute to hearing loss.
Hypertension
There is a significant association between high blood pressure and hearing loss. Hypertension can cause narrowing of the small blood vessels supplying the inner ear. A decrease in blood flow can damage the delicate inner ear.