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In the know!

Welcome to the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology’s consumer information site. On this page you will see links to various topics related to understanding hearing loss, treatment options, communication strategies, etc. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please email us at


  • Consumer Resources PDF (ARA Consumer Springboard)

  • Emergency Preparedness for Adults with Hearing Loss PDF

  • Types of Hearing Loss

    • Conductive - A conductive hearing loss is caused by problems within the outer and/or middle ear. Conductive hearing losses are usually temporary and medically treatable. Common causes of conductive hearing loss are chronic middle ear infections and impacted earwax. Less common causes of conductive hearing loss include disconnection of the three tiny bones in the middle ear, which is behind the eardrum, often due to head trauma; otosclerosis, a disease involving bony growth within the middle ear; cholesteatoma, a skin growth that occurs in the middle ear; as well as other causes. Some of these conditions can be medically treated and/or respond well to bone-conduction or bone-anchored hearing aids.

    • Sensorineural - A sensorineural hearing loss is caused by problems within the inner ear. The inner ear is the sense organ for hearing. Damage to the inner ear can result in a permanent hearing loss. To date, it cannot be cured medically. Hearing aids and/or cochlear implants are the current treatment for those with sensorineural hearing loss. Damage to the inner ear can be caused by extreme noise exposure, age, head trauma, stroke, certain medications, and infections, as well as others.

    • Mixed - A mixed hearing loss involves both conductive and sensorineural components to the hearing loss.

  • Understanding Your Audiogram

    • An audiogram displays the softest sounds you are able to detect. The pitches increase from left to right, much like a piano. The vertical axis shows loudness of sound, with the softest sounds at the top and the loudest sounds at the bottom.

      Your right ear is represented with a circle and your left is represented by an X.

      The classification of hearing loss is shown above. The most important sounds for speech are 500-4000 Hz, as demonstrated below. You receive your meaning of words from the higher pitched sounds, therefore someone with a high-frequency hearing loss will have trouble understanding speech. As we age, the higher pitches tend to diminish first. Hearing loss related to aging is called presbycusis.


  • Should I get my hearing screened/tested?

  • Why are my ears buzzing/ringing?

  • Hearing Aid Troubleshooting

  • Why do I need two hearing aids?

  • What are other devices available besides hearing aids?

  • Effective communication

  • Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)

    • Auditory processing is what the brain does with what the ear hears. An auditory processing disorder is the inability or decreased ability to attend to, discriminate among or between, recognize, or understand auditory information. Someone with APD and normal hearing often experiences comprehension difficulties, especially in noisy environments and/or rooms with poor acoustics. A person with hearing loss and APD will experience even more difficulty. Currently, the cause of APD is unknown. APD may occur in both children and adults and often occurs as part of the normal aging process. For more information, visit The National Coalition on Auditory Processing Disorders at

  • What is a cochlear implant?

10 Commandments for Significant Others

Communicating successfully with persons affected by hearing loss - Thou shalt:

  • not speak from another room.

  • not speak with your back towards the person with hearing loss.

  • not start speaking and then turn away from the person with hearing loss.

  • not speak in competition with anything else.

  • get the attention of the person with hearing loss before you begin speaking.

  • speak face-to-face whenever possible.

  • try to remove obstructions while speaking; such as your hand from in front of your mouth and food in your mouth.

  • speak clearly and distinctly. Project and enunciate.

  • exercise patience when communicating.

  • be supportive to the person with hearing loss. 

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