Types of Hearing Loss

When we think about hearing loss it is important to look at causation and type of hearing loss and where possible when it occurred.

Congenital hearing loss is one that is present at or soon after birth whereas the more common type of hearing loss may be referred to as acquired, one that occurs later on in life and this may be due to various factors.

The hearing loss in itself is classified in one of three ways conductive, sensorineural or a mixed loss (mixture of both).

Types-of-Hearing-Loss-Image-Box
This type of hearing loss is most common and occurs as a result of damage to the inner ear and/or hearing nerve.

Damage is caused to the tiny hair cells that aid the transmission of the sound to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is common as we get older, however some people may be born with it.

The common complaint with this type of loss is the ability to hear clearly since the affect is most pronounced with the high frequency sounds. Distinguishing speech in noise may be a challenge, more people appear to mumble and common sounds such as birds singing/door bells may not be heard as the hearing loss deteriorates.

Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, however based on the degree of hearing loss the most common treatment options are hearing aids, cochlear implant or middle ear implant.

There are various causes of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Noise induced hearing loss (occupation, hobby)
  • Presbyacusis (age related)
  • Genetic
  • Medication: strong antibiotics, high doses of aspirin can contribute to tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Ménière’s disease (hearing loss, tinnitus & vertigo)
  • Certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation
  • Head injury

This hearing loss may be caused by a blockage or damage to the outer ear, middle ear or both.

A conductive hearing loss prevents the effective transmission of sound from the outer ear to the middle ear and beyond.

The hearing loss may be temporary or permanent and depending on the degree of hearing loss it may be treated with hearing aids, medications, bone conduction implants or surgery.

There are various causes of conductive hearing loss:

  • A build-up of earwax
  • Fluid in the middle ear (glue ear)
  • Otosclerosis (unusual bone growth in the middle ear)
  • Middle ear infections (Otitis Media)
  • Small holes (perforations) in the eardrum

This hearing loss may be caused by a blockage or damage to the outer ear, middle ear or both.

A conductive hearing loss prevents the effective transmission of sound from the outer ear to the middle ear and beyond.

The hearing loss may be temporary or permanent and depending on the degree of hearing loss it may be treated with hearing aids, medications, bone conduction implants or surgery.

There are various causes of conductive hearing loss:

  • A build-up of earwax
  • Fluid in the middle ear (glue ear)
  • Otosclerosis (unusual bone growth in the middle ear)
  • Middle ear infections (Otitis Media)
  • Small holes (perforations) in the eardrum

This type of loss has characteristics of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss and most commonly can be helped with hearing aids.