Type of Hearing Loss

The three basic categories of hearing loss are conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

When there is a problem in transmitting sound energy to your cochlea, one of the reasons could be a problem with the conductive hearing loss in the ear, such as an obstruction in the ear canal, a hole in the eardrum, problems with the three small bones in your ear, or a fluid problem. Between the eardrum and the inner ear. Fortunately, in most cases, conductive hearing loss improves.

What Are the Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss?

Symptoms of conductive hearing loss can vary depending on the exact cause and severity (see below), but may include or be associated with:
• Muffled hearing
• Sudden or steady loss of hearing
• Full or "stuffy" sensation in the ear
• Dizziness
• Draining of the ear
• Pain or tenderness in the ear

sensorineural hearing loss

In sensorineural hearing loss, the structure of the inner ear and the auditory nerve is damaged, which is the cause of 90% of hearing loss in adults. In these people, the ability to distinguish different speech signals and the perception of loudness is affected. Factors such as loud noise exposure, genetic factors and the natural aging process are the causes of sensorineural hearing loss. In these people, the sensitivity of soft sounds or sounds out of a person's hearing threshold is declined or not heard.

What Causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)?

The causes of this type of hearing loss are generally sorted into two categories: acquired or congenital. Most people have acquired hearing loss.
Acquired sensorineural hearing loss
Acquired means the hearing loss develops after a person is born, usually later in life. Causes can include:


One of the most common conditions of growing older is presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, affecting one in three Americans between the ages of 65-74. Because this type of loss occurs over time, typically in both ears, it’s sometimes difficult to notice.


Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be caused by exposure to a one-time loud noise, such as an explosion or gunfire, or from sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) over an extended period of time. If you have to shout to be heard or your ears ring after attending a live concert or ballgame, your hearing health is at risk.

Disease and infections

Viral infections—including measles, meningitis and mumps—can cause sensorineural hearing loss. 

Head or acoustic trauma

Viral infections—including measles, meningitis and mumps—can cause sensorineural hearing loss. 


Examples of common tumors that can affect hearing include acoustic neuroma and cholesteatoma, an abnormal skin growth in the middle ear.


More than 200 medications and chemicals are ototoxic, or damaging to your hearing health. Some of those known to cause permanent damage include certain types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications and cancer chemotherapy drugs.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Sometimes, a conductive hearing loss happens at the same time as a sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL. This means that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or nerve pathway to the brain. This is a mixed hearing loss.

Causes of Mixed Hearing Loss

Anything that causes a conductive hearing loss or SNHL can lead to a mixed hearing loss. An example would be if you have a hearing loss because you work around loud noises and you have fluid in your middle ear. The two together might make your hearing worse than it would be with only one problem.

Central hearing loss

is caused by a problem with the auditory nerve or sound centers. Sound waves may travel through the ear but this nerve pathway is unable to send electrochemical impulses to the brain. As a result, the hearing centers do not receive the signals correctly.
Central hearing loss can be a result of a head injury or disease. A common symptom is the ability to detect sound but not being able to understand it. Children suffering from auditory processing disorders fall in to this category.


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