Types of Hearing Loss

There are three types of hearing loss:

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss in which the cause lies in the hearing nerve, the hair cells of the cochlea (inner ear), or central processing centers of the brain.

The most common sensorineural loss is caused by damage to the hair cells of the cochlea.  The following are causes of sensorineural loss:

  • Noise induced hearing loss
  • Age related hearing loss (Presbycusis)

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing impairment is a type of hearing loss in which the cause lies in the ear canal or the middle ear.  The middle ear includes the ear drum, the bones of the ear (ossicles) and the Eustachian tube.

Causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • Otosclerosis – abnormal growth of bone on the stapes footplate.
  • Otitis media – this is commonly known as a middle ear infection.  Otitis media has many degrees of severity.  Serous otitis media (SOM) is a collection of fluid behind the ear drum.  Over a period of weeks or months this fluid can become thick and gluey, hence the name glue ear.


hearing loss

This type of loss is a combination of a sensorineural loss and a conductive loss.
A comprehensive diagnostic hearing test is able to determine the type of loss you may have (see Hearing Test).

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