Deafness is the partial or complete inability to hear. Some people are born deaf, which is known as congenital deafness. Many others begin to suffer from conductive hearing loss because of age, genetic predisposition, or environmental effects, including exposure to extreme noise (noise-induced hearing loss), certain illnesses (such as measles or mumps), or damage due to toxins (such as those found in certain solvents and metals).
Given the mechanical nature by which the sound wave stimulus is transmitted from the eardrum through the ossicles to the oval window of the cochlea, some degree of hearing loss is inevitable. With conductive hearing loss, hearing problems are associated with a failure in the vibration of the eardrum and/or movement of the ossicles. These problems are often dealt with through devices like hearing aids that amplify incoming sound waves to make vibration of the eardrum and movement of the ossicles more likely to occur.
When the hearing problem is associated with a failure to transmit neural signals from the cochlea to the brain, it is called sensorineural hearing loss. One disease that results in sensorineural hearing loss is Ménière’s disease. Although not well understood, Ménière’s disease results in a degeneration of inner ear structures that can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus (constant ringing or buzzing), vertigo (a sense of spinning), and an increase in pressure within the inner ear. This kind of loss cannot be treated with hearing aids, but some individuals might be candidates for a cochlear implant as a treatment option. Cochlear implants are electronic devices that consist of a microphone, a speech processor, and an electrode array. The device receives incoming sound information and directly stimulates the auditory nerve to transmit information to the brain.
Q. Which of the following best describes conductive hearing loss?
C is correct because it best describes conductive hearing loss. The keywords from option c can be found in paragraph 2 – “inevitable”, “loss”, “problems”, and “eardrum”. The question asks about a specific term in the passage; it is mentioned in more than one paragraph so it is necessary to read at least the first two paragraphs. Option a is incorrect because it is describing deafness. Option b is referring to deafness, which some people can be born with, and option d partly describes how hearing aids work, which is not what the question is asking.