Bilateral hearing loss is a hearing impairment that can affect both ears and ranges from moderate to severe. It can be conductive, sensorineural or both. There are many scenarios at the origin of bilateral hearing loss and equally varied solutions.
Bilateral or unilateral conductive hearing loss, usually caused by otitis, earwax plugs or the presence of foreign bodies in the ear canal, affects the external ear or the conductive structures of the middle ear. In these cases, the first step is to go to an ENT specialist, who will decide on the most suitable treatment. If you wish to get a free hearing consultation, visit the Amplifon centre nearest to you. A qualified specialist will carry out the listening and speech comprehension tests and identify the most suitable acoustic solution for your hearing needs.
When the cochlea or the auditory nerve is affected, this is known as sensorineural hearing loss. It manifests itself both in adults and children, often manifesting slowly over a period of time. In most cases, sudden deafness is extremely rare. If it occurs in old age, it is likely presbycusis. Unlike conductive hearing loss, for which a possible solution lies in the hearing aid, sensorineural hearing loss has the acoustic solution as its elective remedy. In the most severe cases, when traditional amplification does not offer sufficient benefits to guarantee a good quality of life, a cochlear implant will be used, which converts acoustic signals into electrical signals, going beyond the damaged structures of the inner ear and arriving directly at the acoustic nerve.
Mixed hearing loss, whether unilateral or bilateral, produces a conductive and sensorineural deficit at the same time. It may consist of the superimposition of a mechanical cause (e.g. earwax plug) on a sensorineural one (e.g. presbycusis). Other times it is caused by the aggravation of a pathology in the transmission apparatus which, due to proximity to the inner ear, is transmitted to the cochlea. In this case, it will be the specialist doctor who, following a scrupulous evaluation of the anatomical and auditory condition, will propose the most suitable solution between medical, surgical intervention or the adoption of a hearing aid.