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Types of hearing loss

Types of hearing loss

Sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss are the three most prevalent forms. For the greatest care, it’s critical to understand what sort of hearing loss you have.

The effects of hearing loss affect people of all ages. There are numerous potential reasons for this.

You and your loved ones’ quality of life is impacted by hearing loss. Hearing loss has been connected by researchers to social isolation, weariness, and despair. There is help available, which is wonderful news.

Do you have any particular kind of hearing loss?

Any type of hearing loss can affect one or both ears, and its severity can range from minor to profound. The kinds of treatment that will work best for you depend on the kind of hearing loss you have. Based on where it happens, there are three main categories of hearing loss:

In the auditory nerve system or the inner ear, sensorineural hearing loss can occur. This mechanism feeds the brain with sound.

In the middle or outer ear, conductive hearing loss can occur.

A hearing loss that is caused by both neural and conductive sensors is called a mixed hearing loss. The inner, middle, or outer ear is all potential locations.

What is sensorineural hearing loss?

Damage to the auditory nerves that carry sound to the brain or the inner ear can cause sensorineural hearing loss.

The cochlea is an organ located inside the inner ear that resembles a snail. Tiny hair cells found inside the cochlea pick up sound waves. Once that is done, they turn the waves into electrical impulses. Permanent sensorineural hearing loss can result from injury to the nerves and hair cells. This kind of hearing loss is the most prevalent.


Most frequently, sensorineural hearing loss is a sign of aging. It can also happen when someone is exposed to loud noise for an extended period of time. This is known as hearing loss brought on by noise.

The following are additional reasons for sensorineural hearing loss:

• Genetic elements

• Head trauma

• Specific drugs

• Meniere’s disease

• Infections of the inner ear caused by bacteria or viruses.


The ability to hear sounds is often diminished by sensorineural hearing loss. Additionally, it can impede speaking clarity.

The volume and pitch of the sounds you hear are impacted by this type of hearing loss. High-frequency hearing loss is a typical form of sensorineural hearing loss that makes it more difficult to hear high pitches, such as children’s and women’s voices.

If any of the following apply to you, you may be suffering from sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Turn up the radio or television volume.
  • Ask people to repeat themselves. 
  • Frequently, misunderstand conversations. 
  • Complain that family and friends mumble. 
  • Struggle to hear others in conversation. 
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing) in the ears.


Hearing aids are a treatment option for hearing loss brought on by ageing and noise exposure. In some cases, prompt pharmaceutical administration can treat hearing loss caused by viral or bacterial infections.

Cochlear implants may be a possibility if hearing aids are unable to restore your ability to hear if you have inner ear or auditory nerve system damage.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be avoided, while age-related hearing loss cannot be. To safeguard your hearing health, wear earplugs or earmuffs of high quality when there is a lot of background noise.

What is conductive hearing loss?

The middle ear and/or outer ear are the sites of conductive hearing loss. The eardrum, ear canal, and middle ear bones are all included in this. Depending on the underlying cause, conductive hearing loss may be transient or permanent. Conductive hearing loss frequently results in muffled sound and blocked ears.


Conduction hearing loss is brought on by a physical obstruction. It stops sound from entering the inner ear from the middle and outer ear. It may also take place if the middle ear bones or the eardrum are not working properly.

The following are typical conductive hearing loss causes:

• An ear infection that has caused fluid to build up in the middle or outer ear; 

• An excessive buildup of earwax;

• Hearing problems, including inner ear stiffness or constriction (atresia or stenosis)

• A tumour or abnormal development in the bones

• Ineffectiveness of the Eustachian tube (this tube connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat)


A conductive hearing loss will result in lessened sound perception but not diminished clarity. Along with tinnitus, you may frequently feel as though your ears are “blocked” or full. Pain or discharge could also happen if there is an infection.


Conduction hearing loss can be managed or even completely reversed. One form of treatment is:

• an ear, nose, and throat doctor’s surgery(ENT) 

• the removal of superfluous earwax

• the prescription of antibiotics for an infection.

When the hearing loss is irreparable, hearing aids are frequently useful. Additionally, bone-anchored hearing aids could be an excellent choice.

Mixed hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss as well as conductive hearing loss is both present in mixed hearing loss. It happens in the outer, middle, or inner ear, as well as the auditory nerve system.


A combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss causes might result in hearing loss. As an illustration, consider an individual who has earwax blockage and age-related sensorineural hearing loss.


One of the symptoms is a decline in hearing. Reduced speech understanding clarity is one example of this. Additional signs can include:

• Fluid leak from the ears

• Tinnitus

 • A feeling of fullness in the ears.


The conductive element of the hearing loss is frequently treated first in treatment plans. This may entail using antibiotics, having extra earwax removed, or having surgery. In order to alleviate the remaining problems, your hearing specialist may then recommend hearing aids.

What kind of hearing loss you have can be determined with the aid of a hearing test.

How to get help

There are numerous factors that can contribute to hearing loss. Some of the illnesses or causes are reversible, but hearing loss is typically permanent.

Hearing loss can be treated in a variety of ways, including using hearing aids that are prescribed. Untreated hearing loss in youngsters can cause communication problems.

Visit a local hearing clinic if you have any signs of hearing loss. You’ll receive a hearing evaluation from a hearing healthcare practitioner. The optimal course of treatment for you can be discussed with him or her as well.