Understanding The 3 Key Types of Hearing Loss

Were you aware that there are several different kinds of hearing loss? The three principal types of hearing loss are sensorineural, conductive and presbycusis. The kind of hearing loss from which you suffer will have a bearing on the treatment for it. Here are some particulars on these conditions to enable you to more clearly understand any concerns you might be having with your ability to hear.

3 Types of Hearing Loss


Sensorineural hearing loss is frequently referred to as nerve deafness. It takes place if the tiny hair cells within the inner ear, the auditory nerve or the brain are damaged. A sensorineural condition is irreparable.


Conductive loss of hearing is due to improper sound transmission from the ear canal to the eardrum and tiny bones in the middle ear. It usually is caused by injury to the small bones of the middle ear, the eardrum or the ear canal. It can also be due to an infection or a build-up of earwax.

A person with conductive hearing loss has a problem with hearing sounds, while a person having sensorineural has problems discerning the sounds, for example, ‘plight’ could be heard as ‘flight.’ Occasionally a patient will have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. When this occurs, it is known as a mixed hearing loss.


A different type of hearing loss is presbycusis, which is brought on by aging. Presbycusis can start as soon as the age of 40. It is progressive and affects the person’s ability to make out high-frequency noises.

Sensorineural is triggered by damage to the small hair cells within the cochlea or to the eighth cranial nerve. This usually happens on account of lengthy exposure to loud noise. It’s also genetic. However, it is sometimes brought on by drugs, infection, disease or injury.


Medical professionals utilize several tests to determine what form of hearing loss an individual has and the extent of the loss. Treatment options will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. When the hearing loss is permanent, the patient will need to wear a hearing aid. Hearing aids increase sound and transmit it to the ear canal.

People with presbycusis or conductive conditions respond well to using hearing aids, as all they require is a higher volume. However, individuals with a sensorineural problem will need more advanced devices to help them distinguish sounds.

If hearing loss becomes severe, a cochlear implant is a potential resolution. This procedure is particularly beneficial for the individual with a severe sensorineural condition. It is not going to re-establish regular hearing. Nevertheless, it works well enough to enable the person to distinguish sounds more clearly.

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