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Hearing Health: Mixed Hearing Loss

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Mixed hearing loss combines conductive and sensorineural hearing loss; thus, diagnosis and therapy may require a few more stages. What you need to know about this hearing impairment is provided here.

Both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss are possible. In reality, the term “mixed hearing loss” is used to describe situations in which both are present. In these situations, the issue must be resolved by treating both types of hearing loss. Among other treatments, this can entail surgery, earwax removal, or hearing aids. The course of treatment will vary depending on the type of conductive hearing loss that is present.

This page can inform you about the signs, causes, and treatments of mixed hearing loss if you or a loved one has it or if you think they might need a diagnosis. You can then look for the qualified assistance you require.

What is Mixed Hearing Loss?

As was already noted, mixed hearing loss is one type of hearing loss that has two “double” forms. Different symptoms may be present in people with mixed hearing loss compared to those who just have 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.

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

Symptoms of Mixed Hearing Loss

Individuals with combined hearing loss may have different symptoms. People with mixed hearing loss can range in deafness from hardly noticeable to profoundly deaf, depending on the severity of the condition. 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 symptoms. The sensorineural manifestations of mixed hearing loss look like this:

  • Oftentimes, sensorineural hearing loss is bilateral, meaning it occurs in both ears.
  • Speech might be impossible to parse in noisy rooms. This is called the “cocktail party” effect.
  • Certain sounds, like consonants in speech, might be difficult to hear.
  • Tinnitus, or ringing/buzzing/humming/roaring in the ears
  • Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds.

Meanwhile, conductive hearing loss can result in more “physical” symptoms, such as:

  • Unilateral hearing loss, where you can hear out of one ear more than the other.
  • Pressure, pain, or “fullness” in one of both ears.
  • Strange or leakage from the ear canal.
  • Your voice sounding different to yourself.

A multitude of “side effect” symptoms, many of which are psychological and emotional, can also result from hearing loss when it is not addressed. Many hearing-impaired individuals might not recognise that these symptoms are brought on by their hearing loss until they begin receiving treatment.

  • Irritability, or a sense of frustration.
  • Lack of enjoyment in sound (music, conversation, etc.)
  • Avoidance of social situations and interactions.
  • Feelings of isolation or depression.
  • Mental exhaustion, or feeling unreasonably fatigued 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. Treatment options for mixed hearing loss ought to be discussed in this instance.

Causes of Mixed Hearing Loss

There is a possibility that both types of hearing loss are present if a person exhibits symptoms from both the sensorineural and conductive lists. Treatment for mixed hearing loss should be explored in this situation.

Conductive hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors, including:

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

Treatment of Mixed Hearing Loss

There are several steps involved in treating mixed hearing loss. Both types of hearing loss are present, so they need to be treated differently. An audiogram for mixed hearing loss will be used to make the first diagnosis. Your hearing healthcare professional will then ascertain what is causing your conductive hearing loss. Tumours and earwax buildup can be removed surgically for those who experience them, and infections can be treated with antibiotics.

Because sensorineural hearing loss is frequently permanent, it might be more challenging to treat. Hearing aids, however, can help to lessen the symptoms. The hearing aids of today are much more sophisticated than those of the past, and they can give the user a hearing experience that is as natural as possible. Your hearing care professional might recommend hearing aids after the conductive hearing loss has been corrected.