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Explaining the Different Types of Hearing Loss

Hi, I'm Denise Kopecki with Texan Renew Hearing Center. Today we're going to talk about a couple of different types of hearing loss and what the causes of them are. 

Hearing loss can actually develop at any age and can be caused by many different factors. Did you know that only 5% of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically and that 95% of hearing loss is treated with hearing aids? While hearing loss is unique to the individual, it can be categorized into three different types of hearing loss.

The most common hearing loss that people are affected by is sensorineural or sensory hearing loss. This occurs whenever the inner hair nerves, or hair cells, are damaged and don't properly transmit auditory signals or sounds to the brain. Sound and speech may be unclear or muffled-even when the volume is a level that's loud enough, it's just not clear.

Most of the time with sensorineural hearing loss it can be corrected medically or surgically. This permanent type of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Some of the possible causes of this are:

  • Illness
  • Certain medications
  • Genetic hearing loss
  • Aging
  • Head trauma
  • Malformation of the inner ear
  • Exposure to loud noise

The next type of hearing loss is called conductive hearing loss. Conductive is typically the result of obstructions in the outer or middle ear. Sound doesn't properly conduct through the outer ear to the middle ear. Those experiencing conductive hearing loss may sense a reduction in the sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds. There is possibility of treatment including surgery, medication, and sometimes with hearing aids. Some of these causes include:

  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Poor eustachian tube function
  • A perforation in your eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Impact in earwax
  • Infection of the ear canal
  • Swimmer's ear
  • Presence of a foreign object

The third type of hearing loss is called mixed. This is where we have a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Possible treatments for this is still sometimes surgery, some medicine, or hearing aids. 


If you're experiencing these hearing loss, it's best to see your hearing care provider to help with determining what type of hearing loss it is that you have.