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Types of Hearing Loss

We’ll move beyond symptoms now and talk about the different types of hearing loss, each of which are classified according to what part of the auditory system they affect. They are conductive, sensorineural, and mixed, and each result in conditions that are both treatable and permanent. Let’s talk about each type.

Type One: Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is the result of disorders in either the outer or middle ear which prevent sound from getting to the inner ear. With this condition, anything you hear may sound faint, distorted or both.

What causes conductive hearing loss?

  • Infection of the ear canal or middle ear
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
  • Wax build-up
  • Foreign objects in the ear canal
  • Unusual growths, tumors

Can it be treated?
Most conductive hearing loss can be helped medically or surgically if treated promptly.

Type Two: Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when inner ear nerves become damaged and do not properly transmit their signals to the brain. With this condition, the people around may seem to always be mumbling.

What causes sensorineural hearing loss?
The aging process is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. As we all get older, the inner ear nerves and sensory cells gradually die. But other causes of this type of hearing loss include:

  • Injury
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Viral infections (measles or mumps, for example)
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High fever
  • Ménière's disease
  • Heredity

Can it be treated?
Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss is not often medically or surgically treatable – but can be overcome with the use of hearing instruments.

Type Three: Mixed Hearing Loss
If a hearing loss is the result of both conductive and sensorineural components, it is known as a mixed hearing loss, and indicates that there are problems in both the outer or middle and the inner ear.

Please Note:
Regardless of the type of hearing loss or symptoms that apply to you, it’s important that you seek medical attention immediately if you experience:

  • Bleeding/draining from your ears
  • Sudden hearing loss or fluctuating hearing loss
  • Balance problems
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in ears
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in ears

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