Types of hearing loss

There are two main types of hearing loss – Sensorineural and Conductive . It is also possible to have both type present at the same time – something called a ‘mixed’ hearing loss. More rarely, hearing loss can result from damage to the auditory part of the brain.
 
 
 
hearing loss.
) – but there are many other causes impairment, or add to it, such as:
 
  • Regular and prolonged exposure to loud sounds. These sounds do not necessarily have to be unpleasant – for example, exposure to loud music can be just as harmful as exposure to loud machinery. Even short term exposure to loud sound can cause temporary deafness. Click opens a new windowhere to learn more about this.
  • Ototoxic drugs – some medicines are harmful to the cochlea and/or hearing nerve. These include drugs that are used in the treatment of seriouc diseases such as cancer but also include certain types of antibiotics.
  • Certain infectious diseases, including Rubella
  • Complications at birth
  • Injury to the head
  • Benign tumours on the auditory nerve. Although rare, these can cause hearing loss.
  • Genetic predisposition – some people are especially prone to hearing loss
 

Sensorineural hearing loss not only changes our ability to hear quiet sounds, but it also reduces the quality of the sound that is heard, meaning that individuals with this type of hearing loss will often struggle to understand speech. Once the cochlea hair cells become damaged, they will remain damaged throughout that person’s life. This of course means that sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible and cannot be cured – at least at the present time.
 
 
Conductive hearing loss
 

A condition known as otosclerosis (which results in the abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear) can cause severe conductive hearing loss. The excess bone prevents the ossicles in the middle ear from moving freely.
 
The result of this type of hearing loss is that sounds become quieter, although not usually distorted. Depending on its cause, a conductive hearing loss can either be temporary or permanent. 
 
Conductive hearing losses can often be corrected with medical management, or minor surgery.

 

Back to Menu