Hearing loss is one form of possible disorders in the auditory system, and it is commonly divided into two broad groups; conductive hearing loss (CHL) and sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). While many CHL can be treated, very little can be done medically for patients with SNHL. However such patients can be helped by amplification, such as hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices. When both CHL and SNHL are presented, it is called mixed hearing loss (MHL). The first step that is recommended when you have a concern about your hearing is to contact an Audiologist.
Conductive Hearing Loss (CHL) consists of impairment in the sound conduction system to the cochlea that is outer ear and middle ear, similar to turning down the volume of a speaker. However the magnitude of deduction varies depending on the frequency of the sound, and it can be simply explained by the puretone audiogram. Most of CHL can be medically treated .
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is used to describe many different kinds of hearing loss that are a result of impairment in the cochlear and/or the auditory nervous system. Unlike conductive hearing loss, SNHL cannot be fully explained by the puretone audiogram, and there are many different expressions to describe the condition. In many cases, the name is describing the main cause of the SNHL or the location of the disorder. Speech discrimination many be more impaired in patients with SNHL than CHL, and usually very little can be done medically. However, such patients can often be helped with hearing aids.
Some definite risk factors are, loud noise exposure via firearms shooting, mechanical work, factory work, motors, or loud music, head or neck trauma and injury, age, otosclerosis, ear infections/inflammation, ototoxic drugs, or Meniere's disease.
Possible risk factors are familial inheritance, geographic region, health status -fair or poor, low socioeconomic status, or smoking.