The Three Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer and middle ear, when the transmission of sound vibrations is prevented from reaching the inner ear.

 This can happen due to wax build-up, fluid behind the eardrum, or a hole in the eardrum. Sounds seem faint and muffled with conductive hearing loss, which is worse at lower frequencies. Conductive hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically. See the video.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs in the inner ear, or along the nerve pathways that run from the inner ear to the brain.

In a healthy ear, sound travels through the ear canal, and is then processed by the inner ear before passing to the brain. This type of hearing loss occurs when the inner ear is unable to process or send sound vibrations to the brain, due to damaged hair cells. Although medical or surgical correction is usually ineffective, hearing aids can mitigate the effects of sensorineural hearing loss, which is usually caused by exposure to loud noise, genetics, natural aging or medications. See the video.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a unique auditory condition that combines two types of hearing impairment: conductive and sensorineural.

It occurs when there is a problem both in the outer or middle ear (conductive) and in the inner ear or auditory nerve (sensorineural). Conductive hearing loss hinders the transmission of sound waves to the inner ear, while sensorineural hearing loss affects the ability of the inner ear to convert sound signals into electrical impulses for the brain to interpret. This combination results in a complex form of hearing loss that may require a tailored approach for diagnosis and treatment.

Learn More about hearing loss

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

Discover how exposure to loud noises can damage your hearing over time and what you can do to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
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Age-Related Hearing Loss (ARHL)

Explore how age-related hearing loss occurs, its effects on communication, and what you can do to manage it for a better quality of life.
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