Three types of hearing loss

Hearing loss is a condition in which you cannot hear sounds fully in one or both ears. Hearing loss is a progressive disease, which means it occurs gradually and spreads over time. About 25% of people aged 65 to 74 have hearing loss. However, hearing loss is not limited by age; many things can cause it.

Other hearing loss names you may see include:

  • hearing loss
  • hearing loss
  • deaf

In this article, we’ll discuss the three main types of hearing loss and the different ways to manage each.

Types of

The three main types of hearing loss are conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. Read on to learn what causes each of these types, where they appear in the ear, and whether there are treatments available.


With conductive hearing loss, sound waves cannot reach the inner ear (cochlea). With this type of hearing loss, sound waves may not reach the cochlea due to earwax, a foreign body in the ear canal, or damage to the eardrum. Additionally, the middle ear can become infected, deformed bone, or fill with fluid.

Conductive hearing loss can be treated with medication or surgery, although these methods may not work for everyone. Children with repeated ear infections or foreign objects inserted in the ear canal may develop conductive hearing loss.

how to get something out of your ear

sensory nerve

This is the most common type of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the cochlea or auditory nerve is damaged. It usually occurs when some cochlear hair cells are damaged.

Over time, old age, injury, illness, certain medications, and exposure to loud noises can contribute to this loss. Some people may also inherit the disorder from a parent.

Unlike conductive hearing loss, this loss may not be treatable with surgery or medication. Conversely, hearing aids are more helpful for such people because their auditory nerves and hair cells are affected.

What to know about sensorineural hearing loss


There may be some sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Some people initially have sensorineural hearing loss that later develops conductive hearing loss.

Common causes of hearing loss

  • elderly
  • earwax blockage
  • ear infection
  • tumor
  • Damaged or damaged eardrum
  • Listening to loud sounds for a long time

anatomy of the ear

conduction and sensory nerves

Sensorineural hearing loss is usually a defect caused by damage to the hearing nerve or inner ear. If you have this type, expect you to have problems converting sound waves into signals that your brain can understand and translate.

Conductive hearing loss is when sound cannot be transmitted from the outer or middle ear at all. Fluid buildup, ear infections, ruptured eardrums, tumors, blockages of earwax, foreign bodies, and abnormal bone growth can all cause this condition.

Do these types sound different?

Both types of hearing loss often show similar signs. Specifically, people with conductive hearing loss hear muffled sounds, while people with sensorineural hearing loss hear distorted sounds in addition to muffled sounds.

If there is a problem with hearing before and after the inner ear, it is considered mixed hearing loss.

Some people may only hear in one ear from birth, as a child, or it may develop in their adulthood. This is called unilateral deafness. It can be caused by sensorineural or conductive hearing loss, and treatment depends on the type and duration of the loss.

unilateral deafness

Some people may only hear in one ear from birth, as a child, or it may develop in their adulthood. This is called unilateral deafness. It can be caused by sensorineural or conductive hearing loss, and treatment depends on the type and duration of the loss.

Diagnosing hearing loss

If you have a type of hearing loss, getting the right diagnosis is crucial. It is important to catch hearing loss early so you have a better chance of treating hearing loss sooner. Sometimes, it can be reversible and you can restore perfect hearing.

Your doctor may perform some tests to determine the type of loss you may have. Some of these include the following:

  • A physical exam can be done to check your ears for any blockages of earwax, infections, or deformities of the bone structure.
  • A general screening test involves covering one ear and then the other to check how well you hear words and at different volumes.
  • Tuning fork tests (Rinne and Weber tests) use a two-pronged metal to test your hearing. After it’s been tapped and begins to vibrate, your doctor may place it on the bone behind your ear so that it vibrates to pinpoint the exact location of the hearing loss.
  • An audiometer tests where you wear headphones and listen to the sound in your ears. In this case, an audiologist is the best provider choice because they are trained to measure the sounds you hear.

Early detection of hearing loss

It is important to detect hearing loss early. Treating hearing loss as soon as possible can help prevent future damage to your hearing.

hearing test

A hearing test is a specific test performed by an audiologist to accurately diagnose the type of hearing loss a person may be experiencing.

Hearing tests are important in determining the exact type of loss you are experiencing and can go a long way in finding the right solution and treatment plan for you.


The treatment you may get varies depending on the type of hearing loss. If sudden hearing loss is treated urgently, the chance of hearing recovery is higher. Treatment includes:

  • Surgery can reverse hearing loss caused by otosclerosis (hearing loss due to bone growth in the ossicles of the middle ear), scar tissue, or infection.
  • If it’s a mild ear infection, antibiotics can resolve it.
  • Changing some prescriptions may help if you notice a reaction to the prescriptions given to you. However, you should consult your doctor before switching medications.
  • In the case of earwax buildup, your doctor may use suction to clear your ear canal.
  • Hearing aids are helpful, especially for people with permanent hearing loss. They are worn in or behind your ears to help you hear better.
  • Certain devices, such as phone amplifiers, can help you read what’s on your phone, making it easier to speak.
  • Cochlear implants, mainly used in young children, can be used in older adults with severe cases.

Why hearing aids should be covered by health insurance

When to seek medical assistance

If you find that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, now is the perfect time to talk to your healthcare provider. While it may not be easy to explain how you feel, this is the best way to deal with it. Discuss the following with your healthcare provider:

  • discuss your symptoms and when they appear
  • Ask them how they can resolve or improve these symptoms
  • Discuss ways to protect your hearing from further hearing loss


Hearing loss is a condition that prevents people from hearing normally in one or both ears. Factors such as disease, certain medications, prolonged exposure to noise, genetics, accidents, and aging can all cause hearing loss.

The three main types of hearing loss are conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss, with sensorineural hearing loss being the most common. Hearing loss can sometimes be treated with medication or surgery. However, it depends on the cause and type of hearing loss.

In severe cases, hearing loss can be managed with hearing aids or cochlear implants.

VigorTip words

Hearing loss can affect your relationships with people and inhibit your feelings in general. If you are experiencing hearing loss, depression or loneliness may occur due to difficulty conversing with others and participating in everyday life. Letting your healthcare provider know early on about what you’re going through can help you manage discomfort and even better restore your hearing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is hearing loss considered a disability?

    Hearing loss or deafness is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    understand more:

    Law, Legal Rights and Deaf/Hard of Hearing People

  • How to tell if hearing loss is permanent or temporary?

    Temporary hearing loss can occur for a short period of time. Conditions such as earwax buildup, infection, and ringing in the ears can cause temporary hearing loss. Most are reversible after treatment.

    Permanent hearing loss is irreversible and develops over time. Aging, sensorineural hearing loss, and ototoxicity (drug-induced ear poisoning) may be causes.

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    Tinnitus Overview

  • Can you prevent hearing loss?

    According to the NHS, hearing loss is not always avoidable. Aging is a cause of hearing loss, and things like aging are inevitable. But hearing loss caused by listening to loud sounds for extended periods of time is completely avoidable.

    understand more:

    What causes hearing loss?