Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss may be located in the outer, middle and/or inner ear. There are 3 types of hearing loss:

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear resulting in sound being unable to travel to the inner ear properly. Many instances of conductive hearing loss can be treated with medicine or surgery. Causes of conductive hearing loss can include wax in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear or a hole in the eardrum.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by a problem in the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss usually cannot be cured with medicine or surgery, but hearing aids or cochlear implants can help in most cases. In young children, sensorineural hearing loss can occur due to:

  • Certain infections before birth
  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • Genetic causes

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. An example of mixed hearing loss is when children with sensorineural hearing loss also have middle ear problems (such as fluid in the middle ear). This can make hearing loss worse.