Causes of hearing loss

There are three main types of hearing loss with different causes and features. Each type of hearing loss relates to the specific part of the hearing system where the damage has occurred.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This is the most common type of hearing loss. It can also be called ‘nerve deafness’ or ‘perceptive loss’. It occurs when the delicate structures of the inner ear or cochlear and/or its associated nerves are damaged. It is usually permanent and can affect sound clarity and amplification where voices may sound like mumbles or are distorted.

The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

Conductive Hearing Loss²

This occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear. Problems in these areas usually relate to a mechanical disruption of the pathway of sound through to the inner ear. This results in a decrease in perceived loudness of a sound to the sufferer and can often be treated with surgery or other forms of medical management.

The most common causes of conductive hearing loss include:

Outer ear canal:

Middle ear:

Mixed Hearing Loss

This is when damage has occurred to both the middle ear and inner ear system. This can happen when there are multiple conditions co-existing or in cases of Otosclerosis.

Other Terms Used to Describe Types of Hearing Loss

When it occurred:

Whether it is permanent or temporary:

Age-related hearing loss