Symptoms and causes

What is it?

The test consists of two parts:

  1. The middle ear (eardrum and ear bones) is 'mechanical' and ensures that sound is conducted to the cochlea.
  2. The inner ear (cochlea and balance system) is 'digital' and ensure that the sound waves are converted into electrical signals before being transmitted to the brain.

Characteristics

There are two types of hearing loss:

  1. If there is a problem with the mechanical portion, there may be 'conduction loss': this can be treated in many cases with medication, an ear tube or a middle ear operation. This can be treated in many cases with
    medication
    , a middle ear operation, or
    ear tubes

    Examples
    of the possible causes of a middle ear infection are:
    - otosclerosis
    - eardrum perforation
    - fluid in the middle ear

  2. If there is a problem with the digital portion, this can lead to 'perceptive' or 'neurosensorial' hearing loss. This cannot be resolved with an operation. A hearing aid can also be adjusted to treat perceptive hearing loss.

    Examples
    of the possible causes are:
    - hearing loss due to Ménière's disease
    - hearing loss due to age
    - sudden deafness

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis

The difference between the two types of hearing loss can be determined by:

  • hearing tests (audiometry)
  • looking into the ear (otoscopy)
  • tuning fork tests

Treatment centres and specialisations

Ear, nose, and throat diseases

Latest publication date: 11/08/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith