Dr Erin Rushing - Hearing Tests

Understanding the Different Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss isn't a "one-type-fits-all" problem. Instead, three prominent types of hearing loss can impact someone's life.

What Are the Three Types of Hearing Loss?​

There are three types of hearing loss that someone could be diagnosed with. The three types are:

  • Conductive Hearing Loss

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss

  • Mixed Hearing Loss

 You can learn what hearing loss is by reading our blog post on the subject here.

What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that occurs when something prevents standard sound transmission through the outer and middle ear to a normally functioning cochlea. This reduction in sound transmission causes a decrease in hearing acuity.

Problems that could lead to a conductive hearing loss include:

  • Blockages in the outer ear, like wax, dirt, and other debris

  • Issues with the eardrum or bones of the middle ear

  • Fluid or a mass in the middle ear

What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that occurs when the cochlea’s hair cells are damaged, and there are no blockages in the outer and middle ear that prevent sound transmission to the cochlea in the inner ear. Hair cell damage prevents the correct electrical impulses from being sent to the brain. This results in a reduction in hearing acuity.

Common causes of hair cell damage include:

  • Noise exposure

  • Aging

  • Ototoxic medications

What Is Mixed Hearing Loss?

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing losses. With mixed hearing loss, something is blocking normal sound transmission to the inner ear, and there is damage to hair cells in the cochlea. Both issues cause a reduction in hearing acuity.

How do I know what type of hearing loss I have?

Visit a skilled hearing care professional to find out what type of hearing loss you have. They will conduct a thorough evaluation.

Not all doctors who treat ear problems evaluate them in the same way. So choose a hearing care professional carefully.

Ear anatomy, types of hearing loss.
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