Types of Hearing Loss

Causes & Types of Hearing Loss

Not all hearing loss is the same and diagnosis, treatment and care will depend on the type of hearing loss you have.  The main types of hearing loss are sorted into three categories.

Our qualified Audiologists take the time to understand and perform a comprehensive diagnosis before recommending a treatment.

Conductive hearing loss

Occurs when there are problems with the outer and/or middle ear.

Such problems will prevent the entire sound signal from reaching the inner ear.

The most common causes of a conductive hearing loss are fluid in the middle ear (ear infection), a perforated eardrum, wax (cerumen) build up or damage to the tiny bones in the middle ear (ossicles).

Sensorineural hearing loss

This is the most common cause of hearing loss and is due to damage to the inner ear.   Damage might be to the hair cells of the cochlea or damage to the fibres of the auditory nerve.

The most common causes of a sensorineural hearing loss are age and noise exposure.  Even if sounds are perfectly processed through the outer and middle ear, they may not be effectively transmitted through the inner ear and to the brain.

The recommendation for most types of sensorineural loss is treatment with hearing aids. People with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss may also consider treatment with cochlear implants.

Mixed hearing loss

Occurs when a person has both a conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural hearing loss.

An example of this may be a person who has worked in a loud factory for years (sensorineural hearing loss), but who also has an ear infection (conductive hearing loss).

Sometimes, the conductive component of the hearing loss can be medically treated and resolved, while the remaining sensorineural portion of the hearing loss is treated with hearing aids.