Types of Hearing Loss


Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the US, and the number of Americans with it is expected to increase by 30 million in the next 40 years.

If you’re now worried that you’ll get hearing loss, or you’re already having difficulties, then it’s important to know about the types that can happen. By learning and being aware, you can catch problems before they become more troublesome.

Read on to see the different types of hearing loss and how they’re different.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss happens when you have issues with your outer ear.  It can affect your inner ear too. This blocks or reduces the passage of sound waves, which is why you develop hearing difficulties.

In many cases, conductive hearing loss is caused by earwax buildup or fluid in the middle ear, which can occur as a result of an ear infection. Other causes of this type of hearing loss include a perforated eardrum or abnormalities in these ear structures.

You can usually treat it with medicine or surgery.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Most people with hearing problems are affected by sensorineural hearing loss. It’s when there’s damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the auditory nerve pathways.

You may experience this type of hearing loss with aging. However, prolonged exposure to loud noises, genetic factors, certain diseases or infections, head trauma, or ototoxic medications can cause it too.

Unfortunately, you can’t usually treat sensorineural hearing loss with medicine or surgery. But you can use hearing aids to boost your hearing abilities. Look here for more information about getting the right hearing aids.

Mixed Hearing Loss

As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss involves both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. In this case, you’ll probably have damage or issues in your outer or middle ear, as well as the inner ear or auditory nerve.

Typically, mixed hearing loss occurs in people with pre-existing conductive hearing loss, who then develop sensorineural hearing loss.

There are several treatment plans available, depending on the specific causes. You’ll most likely receive a combination of medical intervention, surgery, as well as hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Other Types of Hearing Loss

We’ve discussed the three main types above, but do note that there are other types of hearing loss as well.

For example, you may have an auditory processing disorder, which affects your brain’s ability to interpret sound. There’s also sudden hearing loss; this is a rapid loss of hearing over a short period, and you’ll need immediate medical attention.

These Are the Types of Hearing Loss to Watch Out For

Now that you know what the main types of hearing loss are, you can better pinpoint which one you possibly have.

The next step is to speak with your doctor about your concerns, and they can perform or order the tests needed to help make a diagnosis. Once you have one, you can move forward with a personalized treatment plan and/or any hearing aids if needed.