Millions of people deal with varying levels of hearing loss, which can become increasingly frustrating since it can alter your everyday life. There are so many resources that advise on how to preserve your hearing, and if you do have hearing loss, there are resources that advise on how to maintain that level of loss and prevent it from getting worse. But is there a way to restore hearing loss altogether? The simple, yet complicated, answer is yes and no.
All hearing loss is not the same. There are three major categories of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed, and based on which category you fall into impacts whether there is a chance to reverse your hearing loss.
Before explaining these categories of hearing loss, we must understand how we process sound. Sound waves enter the outer ear, pass through middle, and inner ear, and are then processed by the brain. In the inner ear, there are tiny hair-like cells that transform the vibrations of the sound waves into electrical impulses that the brain processes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone is born with about 16,000 of these hair-like cells. The deterioration of these hair cells is the cause of most hearing loss.