Hearing Loss Education

Types of Hearing Loss


Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) occurs when people work or play around loud noises for extended periods of time. Most often the damage occurs in the high frequencies, but leaving the low frequencies within the normal range. Some examples of noisy jobs are: factory work, presses, machinery, farm equipment, tools, pressure guns/tools. Some examples of noisy hobbies are: hunting, shooting, boating, working with engines/cars, concerts/music.


Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs when the sensory part of the ear (the inner ear and outer hair cells) or the neural part of the ear (nerve that runs from the ear up to the brain) lose their ability to function normally. This happens to many people as they age and from the “wear and tear” that we put on our hearing. It can also be congenital or occur from illness.


Conductive Hearing Loss occurs when there is something physically obstructing the ear canal or middle ear and sound cannot be effectively conducted through the canal and middle ear into the inner ear. Oftentimes conductive hearing loss is temporary, but there are some medical conditions where it is permanent. A few examples of conductive hearing loss are: having wax impacted in the outer ear canal, having fluid in the middle ear (from an ear infection), or having bony growths around or on the ossicles (middle ear bones).


Sudden Hearing Loss occurs all at once. There is no gradual loss of hearing; moreover people wake up in the morning and find that they cannot hear out of one of their ears at all. There are some diseases of the ear that present with this symptom, but not all causes of sudden hearing loss are known.


There are classes of drugs that can harm the hair cells in the inner ear and cause hearing loss. Certain mycin drugs, as well as chemotherapy drugs, can damage one’s hearing, especially in the high frequency range. Many doctors will do hearing testing to monitor their patients’ hearing throughout a cycle of chemotherapy.



A one-time blast or very loud noise can permanently damage one’s hearing.


If there is physical damage to the ear or skull, hearing loss can be permanent or temporary due to the damages inflicted to the structures in the ear or brain.


Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells.

This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines. A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain. The greater the damage to a person’s hair cells, the more severe the hearing loss, and the greater the hearing aid amplification needed to make up the difference.

However, there are practical limits to the amount of amplification a hearing aid can provide. In addition, if the inner ear is too damaged, even large vibrations will not be converted into neural signals. In this situation, a hearing aid would be ineffective.


The HCS program offers a choice in hearing care instruments to the patient.  We offer a wide variety of all styles of hearing aids from major manufacturers.   The HCS hearing care professional will assist the patient in determining the instrument best suited for the patient’s hearing loss


Suitable ForMild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Overview – These instruments are 100% invisible when worn.. It sits deep within the ear canal, but intended for daily removal.


Suitable ForMild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Overview – This is currently the smallest custom-made hearing instrument.  The shell is designed to fit deep inside your ear canal and be very discreet.  Often these devices are limited in the number of programs and options.


Suitable For – Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Overview – This hearing instrument is custom-made to fit your ear.  It is slightly larger then the CIC.  This style provides access to multiple listening programs.  ITC instruments may be a little easier for some people to manipulate than CICs, though they are still small.


Suitable For – Mild to Severe Hearing Loss

Overview – This style is also custom-made and fills your entire outer ear.  A full shell ITE provides access to telecoil and multiple listening programs.


Suitable For – Mild to Profound Hearing Loss

Overview – RIC instruments look like open fit instruments, the difference being that instead of a tube acoustically sending sound to the ear, the receiver is inside the tube and ends right next to the ear drum.  RIC is the most popular style of instrument on the market today.


Suitable For – Moderate to Profound Hearing Loss

Overview – Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids sit behind or on top of the outer ear with tubing that routes the sound down into the ear canal via a custom-fit earmold or an ear tip that doesn’t block the entire ear canal opening. 


Suitable For – Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Overview – The microphone and tubing of this type of hearing instrument are hidden in the ear’s natural contours, so the instrument is virtually invisible in the ear.  This unique microphone placement also provides natural suppression of wind noise.  Multi-venting allows air to travel freely in and out of the ear, ensuring an open, comfortable fit that makes your voice sound as natural as possible.

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