Hearing loss can be categorized into three different types. These include: sensorineural, conductive and mixed. Hearing loss stems from the different parts of the auditory system which have been affected.
A sensorineural hearing loss mostly occurs within the inner ear where there may be nerve damage which alters the brain response. This type of hearing loss is mostly permanent and usually cannot be corrected with any medications or surgery. Generally, causes of sensorineual hearing loss include: hereditary hearing loss, presbycusis (hearing loss due to getting older), Meniere’s Disease, toxic drugs, exposure to loud noises for a long period of time, Acoustic Neroma, extensive head trauma, and/or viral illnesses.
A conductive hearing loss mostly occurs when sound does not travel effectively through the ear canal and ossicles of the middle ear. Generally, causes of conductive hearing loss include: Otitis Media (ear infections), Serous Otitis Media (allergic reactions), fluid found in the middle ear, excessive cerumen blocking the ear canal, Otitis Ecxterna (commonly known as Swimmer’s Ear), foreign objects in the ear canal, perforation of the ear drum and/or scarring.
A mixed hearing loss mostly occurs when there is both a sensorineural and conductive hearing loss present. This would typically suggest issues within the middle and inner ear. There are also auditory processing problems in the brain that can affect how sound is interpreted. This can cause problems of hearing in background noise, even with appropriate hearing aids.