Posted on: September 10, 2010

Many people do not realize that not all hearing loss is the same. There are basically three types of hearing loss:

Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss in adults. It is a result of damage to the inner ear or the nerves from the ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is a permanent condition which cannot be treated medically or surgically.

The effects of sensorineural hearing loss are twofold. First there is a reduction in sound level so that faint to moderate sounds become difficult to hear. There is also a reduction in clarity. This makes speech very difficult to comprehend even when the speaker is loud enough to be heard.

The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are aging and noise exposure. Other causes include viruses, birth injury, head trauma, genetic syndromes, tumors, and drugs that are toxic to the auditory system.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs from damage or blockage in the outer or middle ear. With this type of hearing loss sound is conducted less efficiently through the outer and middle ear space resulting in a reduction in sound level. This type of hearing loss can usually be corrected medically.

Common causes of conductive hearing loss include cerumen (wax) buildup in the ear canal, infection in the ear canal, infection or fluid in the middle ear, eardrum perforation, foreign bodies, damage to the middle ear bones or ossicles, and absence or malformation of the outer and middle ear.

Mixed Hearing Loss
A mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. That is, damage to the outer, middle, inner ear and nerve can occur together.