About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects nearly 34 million Americans, or 11% of the population. Nearly 30% of people over the age of 65 have a hearing loss. Hearing loss affects people of all ages with 65% of people with hearing loss being under retirement age.

Watch the video below to see how your ear works.

There are many causes of hearing loss that may require a hearing device, including:

  • Long term exposure to noise
  • The aging process
  • Heredity
  • Illness
  • Reactions to medications
  • Injury
  • Ear wax

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can happen suddenly or gradually over time. When hearing loss is subtle, many people do not recognize that they’re suffering. Reach out to the Beltone of Iowa Hearing Center nearest you if you or your loved one experiences any of the 10 warning signs of hearing loss listed below. A quality hearing aid that is selected based on your lifestyle needs could be the answer!

  • People seem to mumble more frequently.
  • You experience ringing in your ears.
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves.
  • Your family complains that you play the radio or TV too loudly.
  • You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet or the ringing of a doorbell.
  • You have difficulty understanding a conversation when in a large group or crowd.
  • You have trouble understanding all the words in a conversation.
  • You find telephone conversation increasingly difficult.
  • You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker.
  • You have been told you speak too loudly
  • You are depressed

   Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically.

Some possible  of of conductive hearing loss:

  • Ear infection (otitis media)
  • Allergies (serous otitis media)
  • Poor eustachian tube function
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Impacted earwax (cerumen)
  • Infection in the ear canal (external otitis)
  • Swimmer’s Ear (otitis ecxterna)
  • Presence of a foreign body
  • Absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear


Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled.

Some possible causes of SNHL:

  • Illnesses
  • Drugs that are toxic to hearing
  • Hearing loss that runs in the family (genetic or hereditary)
  • Aging
  • Head trauma
  • Malformation of the inner ear
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Diabetes


Mixed hearing loss

Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed hearing loss.