Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss in a child may come in different forms. Conductive hearing loss, sensorineural loss or a combination of both are potential problems. Here are some identifying characteristics of these conditions that may affect a child.

The loudness of sound in hearing is known and conductive. It occurs when the inner ear is complete and ready to accept sounds but the outer or middle ear is blocked in some way. In this case, if a sound reaches the inner ear, it is clear and undistorted. But the sound may be too soft due to outer or middle ear blockage.

This type of hearing loss may be reduced if not eliminated completely with medical treatment in most cases. It may also only be a temporary problem if the blockage is not permanent by nature. Short term hearing loss of this type will not impair a child’s ability for language comprehension or learning most likely. However, if the blockage is a long term condition and cannot be remedied with medical attention, educational and language development may suffer.

Sensorineural hearing loss differs from conductive in that it affects both the amplitude of sound as well as clarity. In this case the hair or nerve cells within the inner ear are damaged; the inner ear is unable to identify proper pitch as it arrives at the ear.

This type of hearing loss cannot be medically repaired. Identifying deafness or hard of hearing in a child is very important in the early stages of a child’s growth. Since learning may therefore be affected hearing aids should be employed to help a child with the senorineural loss.

Sometimes a child may experience both of these forms of hearing difficulty. Scheduling regular ear evaluations for young children will help with early detection of potential problems.

Source: Gallaudet.edu


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