Types of hearing loss

Hearing loss can result from any number of events at any point in our lives. It generally means there has been some damage to the outer, middle or inner ear or in the nerve pathway to our brains.

Which types of hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be present from birth or develop over time as a result of an illness, accident, exposure to certain drugs and chemicals, or more commonly, as part of the normal aging process or exposure to loud noise.

In general, there are three types of hearing loss. They are conductivesensorineural or a mixed hearing loss (a combination of both).

Sensorineural hearing loss

This type of hearing loss occurs when the delicate sensory cells or nerve fibres in the inner ear get damaged stopping them from transmitting sound properly. Causes include Ototoxic drugs (drugs with side effects that affect hearing), Meningitis and Meniere’s disease, however the most common causes are the natural process of ageing or excessive exposure to noise. In most cases, this condition is permanent.

Conductive hearing loss

This is caused by problems in the outer and middle ear, which can prevent sounds getting through to the inner ear. The most common causes can be a build up of wax in the ear canal, perforated ear drum, fluid in the middle ear, or damaged middle ear bones.

Mixed hearing Loss

Mixed Hearing Loss is a Hearing Loss condition when both the components of Conductive Hearing Loss and Sensorineural Hearing Loss are present. It is caused by the combination of Conductive damage in the outer or the middle ear and Sensorineural damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. A person with Mixed Hearing Loss will either suffer from permanent Hearing Loss or the temporary hearing loss. Mixed Hearing Loss can affect either one ear or both ears.