There are many Types of hearing loss. Most fall into two categories: sensorineural or conductive.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This is the most common type of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in the ear that help transmit sound to your brain. These hair cells can bend or break due to:
- Exposure to very loud noises
- Genetic disposition
- Virus infections in the inner ear
- Certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation
- Head injury
The effects are almost always the same; it becomes harder to distinguish speech from noise, certain high-pitched sounds (such as a bird singing) disappear altogether, or perhaps people seem to be mumbling and you often have to ask them to repeat themselves. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and can’t be corrected medically, but hearing aids can almost always help.
Conductive Hearing Loss
A conductive hearing loss can be the result of a blockage in the external ear canal or can be caused by any disorder that unfavorably effects the middle ear’s ability to transmit the mechanical energy to the stapes footplate. Some causes are:
- A build-up of earwax
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Unusual bone growth in the middle ear
- Middle ear infections
- Small holes in the eardrum
Conductive hearing loss is not necessarily permanent and can often be corrected medically or surgically.
Mixed Hearing Loss
It is possible that you may suffer from both types of hearing loss. This condition is called mixed hearing loss. Mixed hearing losses can be helped with surgery and hearing aids.