types of hearing loss

There are three types of hearing loss based on the anatomical site of deficit in the ear, which are described here.

hearing_loss_conductive-1

CONDUCTIVE HEARING LOSS

Conductive hearing loss is a disorder of the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss can occur in one or both ears.

Common causes of conductive hearing loss :

  • Ear infections 
  • Excessive ear wax
  • A foreign object trapped in the ear canal 

 

  • Eardrum perforation
  • Middle ear infections 
  • Malformations in the outer or middle ear
hearing_loss_conductive-1
Source: MED-EL

SOLUTIONS FOR CONDUCTIVE HEARING LOSS

This type of hearing loss can usually be treatable. An ENT doctor can easily remove excessive earwax, fluid or foreign objects from the ear. A middle ear infection may also prevent the ossicles, the three small bones in the middle ear, from vibrating and passing on sound to the cochlea. Medication usually helps in this case. If the root cause is a malformed outer ear, ear canal or middle ear, the conductive hearing loss is usually permanent. In such cases, bone conduction devices/implants are suitable solutions.

hearing_loss_sensorineural-1

SENSORINEURAL
HEARING LOSS

Hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve is called as sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs at any age from birth to old age. This type of hearing loss is generally permanent.

Causes for sensorineural hearing loss :

  • Genetic
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Diseases 

 

  • Medication
  • Smoking
  • Ageing
hearing_loss_sensorineural-1
Source: MED-EL

SOLUTIONS FOR SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS

Depending on the severity of hearing loss, hearing aids may be useful. When hearing aids do not help in getting optimal benefits, cochlear implant may be the ideal solution.

hearing_loss_mixed-1

MIXED HEARING LOSS

Hearing loss caused by deficit in outer or middle as well as inner ear is called as mixed hearing loss. This is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Causes for mixed hearing loss :

  • Genetic
  • Age
  • Excessive noise
  • Medication
  • Congenital hearing loss

 

  • Diseases and tumors
  • Skull injuries
  • Excessive ear wax
  • Ear infections
hearing_loss_mixed-1
Source: MED-EL

SOLUTIONS FOR MIXED HEARING LOSS

A mixed hearing loss usually requires a combined treatment approach. Generally, the conductive component is treatable with medication or surgery and the sensorineural component is compensated using hearing aids. When hearing aids do not help in getting optimal benefits in individuals with mixed hearing loss, active middle ear implant or cochlear implant may be suitable.