Types and causes of hearing loss
Learn the three types of hearing loss and their main causes.
By the time we reach 65, one in three of us will have a hearing impairment.
Types of hearing loss
There are three types of hearing loss — sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. It occurs when the inner ear nerves and hair cells are damaged — perhaps due to age, noise damage or something else. Sensorineural hearing loss impacts the pathways from your inner ear to your brain. Most times, sensorineural hearing loss cannot be corrected medically or surgically, but can be treated and helped with the use of hearing aids.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss is typically the result of obstructions in the outer or middle ear — perhaps due to fluid, tumors, earwax or even ear formation. This obstruction prevents sound from getting to the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated surgically or with medicine.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss is just what it sounds like — a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
As with any medical condition, it’s best to know what you “have” before deciding what to do about it. A consultation with a hearing professional can help determine the type, cause and degree of your hearing loss. Click here to find an experienced provider near you.
Degrees of hearing loss
There are four clinically labeled degrees of hearing loss:
If you have mild hearing loss, you may hear some speech sounds, but will have difficulty with soft sounds.
If you have moderate hearing loss, you’ll struggle to hear/understand speech when someone is talking at a normal level.
If you have severe hearing loss, you will hear little-to-no speech when spoken at normal levels, and hear only some loud sounds.
If you have profound hearing loss, you may only hear very loud sounds and no speech at all.
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