How many kinds of hearing loss are there?
A) 1
B) 2
C) 3
D) I don’t know for sure but I’d like to find out.

If you answered A or B, I’m sorry to say, you’re wrong. If you answered C, well done, correct answer. If you answered D, you’re in the right place. In this blog we’ll cover the 3 main kinds of hearing loss:

  • Conductive
  • Sensorineural
  • Mixed

Conductive hearing loss

This is when hearing is impaired due to a blockage or malformation somewhere between the outer ear and the inner ear. Sound therefore doesn’t get conducted through the ear, which is where the name conductive hearing loss comes from.

The causes are varied, from anything as simple as a build-up of earwax to fluid collecting in response to an ear infection, a burst eardrum or stiffening of the 3 small bones of the middle ear.

Most of the time this kind of hearing loss is temporary as physical interventions, including surgery, or medication can usually cure it. In cases where these treatments do not work, the conductive hearing loss is considered permanent. But this isn’t the end of the road. Middle ear transplants and hearing aids can both help improve hearing.

Sensorineural hearing loss

This is when hearing is impaired because the cochlea (the part of the ear that senses sound) which lives in the inner ear, or the nerve that sends messages from the cochlea to the brain are not working properly. When it comes to the cochlea, the cells that sense sound can be damaged by exposure to loud noises, head trauma and the aging process.

Other causes of sensorineural hearing loss include Meniere’s disease, certain problems during development in the womb and some viral infections.

This kind of hearing loss is permanent but is easily treatable with hearing aids. For those with very severe sensorineural hearing loss, cochlear transplants are also an option.

Mixed hearing loss

As the name suggests, this is where hearing loss is both sensorineural and conductive. This means that there are problems with the nerve that sends signals from the ear to the brain and/or the inner ear, as well as problems with the middle and/or outer ear. Head trauma is a common cause of mixed hearing loss, as well as disease, infection, tumors and birth defects. Treatment usually involves a combination of surgery, medication and hearing aids.

If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, it’s important to get help from an Audiologist as soon as possible. At Cornerstone Audiology we can get to the bottom of what’s causing your or your loved ones hearing loss and take steps to resolve the problem. So book an appointment with one of our Audiologists today for better, healthier hearing.