Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects millions of individuals. There are many different causes for hearing loss and it can present in a multitude of ways. It can occur suddenly, gradually, and in one or both ears. It is generally associated with aging, however it can happen to people of all ages.

Types and causes of hearing loss

There are three main types of hearing loss which are classified by which part of the auditory system is injured.  

  • Conductive hearing loss- This happens when sound is not transmitted effectively through the outer ear to the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and the tiny ear bones (called ossicles) in the middle ear. This type of hearing loss is possibly correctable with medical or surgical treatment. Some common causes of conductive hearing loss include:
    • Fluid in the middle ear space
    • Ear infection
    • Cholesteatoma
    • Wax build up
    • Eustachian tube dysfunction
    • Eardrum rupture
    • Otosclerosis (fixation of the stapes ear bone)
  • Sensorineural hearing loss- This type of hearing loss is due to damage to the inner ear, hearing nerve, or pathway from the inner ear to the brain. Some common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
    • Aging
    • Loud noise exposure
    • Head trauma
    • Infections
    • Certain medications
    • Genetics
  • Mixed hearing loss – This is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, therefore there is damage to the outer or middle ear along with the inner ear.

If you are having trouble with your hearing, contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.

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