Understanding the Types of Hearing Loss: Cortical Deafness

At Advanced Hearing, we believe that having a good understanding of different hearing losses can empower sufferers to make informed choices about which hearing aid they should buy, and other ways that a patient can cope with their hearing loss. Hearing aids are becoming more and more affordable thanks to innovative technology and highly tailored hearing aids to the individual's needs. This is why we aim to offer information about each hearing loss type to help you make the best choices and save time and money.

Today we are taking a deeper look into cortical deafness.

What is Cortical Deafness?

Cortical deafness, also sometimes called Central Hearing Loss, is a form of sensorineural hearing loss. It is caused by damage to an area in the inner ear called the primary auditory cortex. This part of the ear performs very important functions in the listening process, and is where auditory information received via the ear is processed. Cortical deafness can most often be caused by a bilateral cortical lesion in the area mentioned: the primary auditory cortex. The primary auditory cortex is located inside the brain's temporal lobes. In most cases, a bilateral embolic stroke which has affected the specific area of the Heschl's gyri is the cause of the damage. In fact, cortical deafness is very rare, as only twelve cases have been reported.

Understanding the Level of Hearing in Cortical Deafness

As an auditory disorder, cortical deafness causes the patient difficulty in hearing all types of sounds, often when the patient is completely unable to hear most if not all sounds. Interestingly, cortical deafness can be difficult to diagnose as no damage is apparent in the anatomy of the ear. Conductive hearing loss is often thought of as auditory agnosia or auditory verbal agnosia. Agnosia is a condition that is categorized by the sufferer's inability to differentiate between different sounds and noises. Because of the fact that cortical deafness is caused not by an inability of sound to travel through the ear, but rather, by the inability to process and make good use of this information, hearing is difficult. In many cases, from low-frequency to high-frequency sounds can be incomprehensible or difficult to hear.

Treatments and Coping with Cortical Deafness

It is sometimes possible for a patient to have some or a small part of their hearing abilities restored. However, a lot of the time, coping strategies are advised. As this type of hearing loss is extremely rare, it's important to discuss your case and your hearing with a specialist doctor. Your doctor will be able to tell you what you specifically need from a hearing aid, and whether there are any other treatments for cortical hearing loss. However, it can be easier to gain a good understanding of this rare condition and its symptoms by understanding the similarities of cortical deafness and sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss refers to loss of ability in the central part of the ear where sound information is processed. Although the causes and origin of the two types of hearing loss are very different, they can feel the same in terms of what the patient can hear.

Do you think you may have cortical hearing loss? It's crucial that you talk to a specialist doctor, as they will make a professional diagnosis. Self diagnosis can be very difficult due to the wide variety of types of hearing losses and their complex set of symptoms.

If you have professionally diagnosed cortical hearing loss and are looking for the right hearing aid, our team will be happy to help you. Just send us an email and we'll be back in touch.