What Types of Hearing Loss are There?
How Do We Hear?
Sound waves enter the ear canal and cause the eardrum and middle ear bones to vibrate. This sends an electrical signal from the inner ear, via the hearing nerve to the brain.
Conductive Hearing Loss
This is a condition where an obstruction hampers sound waves from reaching the inner ear. The most common causes are ear infections, excessive ear wax, fluid buildup behind the eardrum, a perforation of the eardrum, and otosclerosis, which is a stiffening of the bones in the middle ear. Conductive hearing issues can be medically managed and even cured, and it can range from mild to moderate.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This is a condition where damaged hair cells in the cochlea hampers or even stops sound waves from being converted into the electrical signals that the auditory nerve sends to the brain. Aging is, by far, the most common cause, but exposure to loud noise, certain medications and genetics are also known causes. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot yet be medically managed or cured, and it often ranges from mild to profound.
Mixed Hearing Loss
This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. While the conductive aspect may be medically managed or cured, the sensorineural aspect cannot. And, of course, mixed hearing loss can range from mild to profound.