In order to diagnose hearing loss, your doctor will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, and give you a physical examination followed by a hearing evaluation consisting of a series of audiological tests.
Treatment will depend on your type and degree of hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss occurs when there are problems in the outer ear, ear canal, eardrum or middle ear. It can be caused by any of the following:
- Ear infection
- Fluid in the ears
- Malformation or abnormalities of the outer or middle ear
- Impacted earwax
- Foreign object in the ear
- Perforated eardrum
- Benign tumors
Conductive hearing loss is often correctable with surgery or medications (typically antibiotics). Alternatively, it may be treated with hearing aids.
A sensorineural hearing loss involves a problem with the inner ear, and is frequently referred to as “nerve deafness.” It may be caused by any of these:
- Noise exposure
- Head trauma
- Aging (presbycusis)
- Viral disease
- Autoimmune ear disease
- Meniere’s disease
- Malformation or abnormality of the inner ear
Sensorineural hearing loss can sometimes be treated with medications (corticosteroids) or surgery. More likely, hearing aids will be required.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both types. Treatment might involve a combination of medication, surgery, and/or hearing aids.