Types of Hearing Loss
When you have a hearing evaluation, your audiologist will explain both the type and degree of your hearing loss. There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused either by damage to the cochlea, auditory nerve, or both. The most common cause is damage to hair cells of the cochlea. Sensorineural hearing loss is typically permanent, however hearing aids are often a treatment option. In the case of severe or profound sensorineural hearing loss, implantable devices or cochlear implants may be an option.
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a problem in the outer ear, middle-ear, or both. In this case the inner ear is intact, but the sound is not being conducted to the inner ear properly. Conductive hearing loss may be caused by conditions including chronic ear infections, hereditary disorders such otosclerosis, temporary wax blockage or a foreign body in the ear canal. Conductive hearing loss is often treatable with medicine or surgery. Traditional hearing aids or implantable devices such as a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) may also be an option depending on medical evaluation and patient preference.
Mixed hearing loss occurs when there is both a sensorineural and a conductive component to the hearing loss. Often times the conductive component of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically, however a hearing aid is typically required to treat the sensorineural component of a mixed hearing loss. Traditional hearing aids or implantable devices such as a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) may also be an option depending on medical evaluation and patient preference.