The ear is a complex organ, and consists of three parts; namely the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.
Sound enters the outer ear through the ear canal and travels to the eardrum. The eardrum vibrates which sets the chain of middle ear bones into motion. Next, vibrations ripple through the fluid in the cochlea (inner ear). Inside the cochlea are thousands of hair cells which are arranged to represent different frequencies. The movement from the hair cells is converted into electric impulses which travel along the auditory nerve and auditory pathways in the brain where sound is interpreted.
Hearing Loss can be caused by a number of different factors. A conductive hearing loss is caused by a problem in the middle ear, where a sensori-neural hearing loss is caused by a problem in the inner ear. A mixed hearing loss can be caused by a combination of problems in the middle ear and inner ear. The symptoms and degree of loss, as well as the recommended course of treatment will differ depending on the type and degree of hearing loss. A full diagnostic hearing test can determine this. Following a hearing test, appropriate referrals will be made to other medical professionals if required (e.g. Ear Nose and Throat Specialist). Any degree of hearing loss, can have a significant impact on communication.