Types of Hearing Loss
There are Three types of hearing loss:
•Conductive Hearing Loss
•Sensorineural Hearing Loss
•Mixed Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds. Some possible causes of conductive hearing loss include Otitis Media , fluid in the middle ear from colds, allergies, poor Eustachian Tube function, impacted cerumen (earwax), or any problems with the bones of the middle ear. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically. If medical intervention is not an option to correct this type of hearing loss then hearing aids usually are an effective treatment.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The second type of hearing loss is called Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). SNHL occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. When SNHL is present even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled. Some possible causes of SNHL include illnesses, natural aging of the ear, genetic predisposition, head trauma, stroke, and noise exposure.
SNHL is permanent loss and usually can not be corrected with medical intervention. Rehabilitative options for this type of loss include hearing aids and assistive listening devices.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed hearing loss. The conductive component of the hearing can often be treated medically, however the SNHL is permanent. Post medical intervention, hearing aids and assistive listening devices are often effective forms of treatment.