Hearing loss typically develops gradually and the signs can be subtle. It is important to have your hearing assessed by an audiologist as part of your yearly check-up.
Hearing loss is common.
One out of every ten Canadians is living with some form of hearing loss and it affects half of people over 65. Hearing loss is considered the fastest growing disability in North America.
Hearing loss affects all ages.
Despite common beliefs that hearing loss only affects seniors, 7 out of 10 people with hearing loss are under the age of 60. The average age of someone with hearing loss is 51 years. Approximately 3 out of 1000 children in Canada are born with a significant degree of hearing loss.
Types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss refers to a permanent type of hearing loss resulting from insult to the hair cells of the cochlea (sensory organ for hearing) and/or damage to the auditory nerve. This can be caused by noise exposure, aging, infection (e.g., meningitis), genetic factors (e.g., family history, syndromes), illness and ototoxic medications.
This type of hearing loss cannot be treated medically or surgically. People with sensorineural hearing loss benefit from hearing aid amplification.
Conductive hearing loss refers to any hearing loss that is caused by reduced transmission of sound to a healthy cochlea. This can be caused by blockage of the ear canal (e.g., ear wax buildup, atresia) or dysfunction in the middle-ear space (e.g., perforation of the eardrum, otitis media, otosclerosis).
Conductive hearing loss can often be medically managed with medication or surgery. Should medical management be unsuccessful, hearing aid amplification is often recommended.
Mixed hearing loss refers to hearing loss exhibiting both sensorineural and conductive characteristics.