Types of Hearing Loss

The three main types of hearing loss are:

  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Mixed hearing loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is a problem in the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. Most conductive hearing losses are temporary and can be treated with medication or surgery. When the hearing loss cannot be treated with medicine or surgery, most people benefit from the use of a hearing aid.

Some possible causes of Conductive Hearing Loss are:

  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Impacted cerumen (Earwax)
  • Benign tumors
  • Swimmer’s Ear
  • Presence of a foreign body
  • Absence or malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is the result of a problem in the inner ear or the nerves that send the signal to the brain. This type of hearing loss occurs when the hair cells in the cochlea or the nerves that send the signals to the brain are damaged. The nerves are responsible for transferring the signal to the brain.

Some possible causes of sensorineural hearing loss are:

  • Illnesses
  • Drugs that are toxic to hearing
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Head trauma
  • Malformation of the inner ear
  • Exposure to loud noise

Mixed Hearing Loss

Sometimes conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with sensorineural hearing loss. This happens when there is damage to either the outer or middle ear, as well as the inner ear or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed loss.


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