Listen hear everyone

If you have a problem hearing, this is the month to do something about it.

March is Hearing Awareness Month, raising awareness for the experiences of the 880,000+ New Zealanders who are deaf or hard of hearing. Hearing is essential for maintaining relationships and connections with friends and family, fully participating in team and community activities, and experiencing life events. Hearing makes it possible to engage, listen, laugh, and enjoy many of the things that help shape your quality of life.

New Zealand Hearing explains that there are three types of hearing loss:

Sensorineural hearing loss—a sensory loss refers to damage to the inner ear (the cochlea), whereas neural loss refers to damage to the auditory nerve cells (those in the central pathway). Often, hearing loss is a combination of both. Common causes for sensorineural hearing loss are aging, noise, and genetics. Permanent, with no known cure, it can be treated with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss—means there is a problem sending the sound to the inner ear. Sound is not conducting through properly. The inner ear is not damaged and capable of representing the sound accurately to the nerve. Depending on the cause, this type of hearing loss may be medically treatable, and an audiologist can discuss appropriate action. Common causes for conductive hearing loss are ear infections, earwax build-up, and damage to the eardrum.

Mixed hearing Loss—means there is some type of obstruction where sound cannot get to the inner (conductive hearing loss), and some type of damage to the inner ear or the nerves (sensorineural hearing loss).

A full diagnostic evaluation will allow your audiologist to determine what type of hearing loss you have, and how much of your loss is related to conductive or sensorineural.

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