Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a disorder that a person suffers from due to multiple factors. It might be due to pre-disposition of certain factors or might occur due to damage occurred presently leading to hearing loss. There are basically two types of hearing loss – Sensorineural and Conductive.

Sensorineural hearing Loss

It is more common type of hearing loss and almost 95% of the hearing loss disorder is sensorineural. It occurs due to damage in the nerve. In this type of hearing loss, root cause lies in inner ear or cochlea or cranial nerve and basically related to nerve damage. The nature of hearing loss is mostly permanent but range from being mild, moderate, severe, and profound or mix of all. In this type, there is damage to the hair cells present in the inner ear or nerve pathways leading from inner ear to brain. This type of hearing loss of is of two types:-

Congenital sensorineural hearing loss – This is something that occurs during pregnancy and some causes are pre-mature delivery, maternal diabetes, disease passed from mother to child, oxygen deficiency during child birth and genetic disposition.

Acquired sensorineural hearing loss – It is something that occurs after birth. It is mostly age related hearing loss or exposure extreme loud intensity noise. Other factors that might cause this type of hearing loss are viral infections, head injury or trauma, tumors and medications.


A person suffering from this kind of hearing loss finds it difficult to hear clearly and misunderstand things spoken by other person. The patients find it hard to decode a conversation when there is background noise and hear speech as muffled. It is mostly the clarity of speech part that people struggle with. It is a permanent type of damage and most a person is unable to regain hearing ability. Only a few cases of sensorineural hearing loss can be somewhat treated by operation or else it requires assistance of hearing aids.

Conductive Hearing Loss

It is something that does not occur commonly in adults and requires evaluation by physicians to find out a suitable solution. In this sound is not efficiently conducted through the outer ear canal to eardrum and ossicles of middle ear. The individual suffering from this mainly deals with reduced sound level and mostly is not able to hear faint sounds. Some of the factors that causes this type of hearing loss are fluid in middle ear, impacted earwax, ear infection, allergies, infection caused by foreign body, swimmer’s ear, otosclerosis (hardening of middle ear bone) etc. It is not always a permanent type of damage in most cases and can be rectified with help of surgery or medical aids. It can at times also be resolved with help of pharmaceutical help.

Mixed Hearing Loss – It is type of hearing loss which is caused due to combination of both sensorineural and conductive types. A person suffers both kind of damage that causes this kind of damage.

The intensity of the hearing loss may differ from person to person. Here the intensity based hearing loss:

Profound hearing loss – It is the most extreme type of hearing loss where the individuals are generally are unable to hear sounds softer than 90dB to 120dB. This means people suffering from such problem are unable to hear loud speech or noise at all. As far as treatment is concerned, one might have to depend on hearing kit or visual cues that might involve sign language, speech reading or lip reading.

Severe hearing loss – In case of severe hearing loss, a person find it difficult to hear in most of the situation. A person is able to hear when someone speaks very loudly or closely. There might be miscommunication and 100% speech signal issues. It makes it difficult for person to have clear conversation unless it is in extremely quite environment, face to face or involves speech reading.

Moderate hearing loss- In this a person suffers from hearing loss by 50 to 70% and not the most extreme forms. It might involve people facing trouble in hearing from distance or if visual cues are changed but can most hear face to face conversations. One does not have problems hearing at short distance. The common problem seen in such cases is inability to understand face paced conversations or trouble listening to consonants.

Mild hearing loss- In such kind of hearing loss, one suffers from speech signal issue by 25 to 40% and it hinders clarity in speech. The brain receives sound producing signal but not all information that makes the talking unclear. The common symptoms observed in such cases is inability to understand someone at distant or someone at close proximity against noisy background. In such cases, a person is unable to hear weak sounds.

Unilateral hearing loss- It is only one ear hearing loss where the hearing is impaired in one ear but the other ear hears perfectly fine. It involves symptoms like finding it difficult to figure out the sound source, understanding speech at times etc. If the affected ear is towards the person talking or sound, there are issues in hearing faint or distant voice. It might also cause problems related to hearing background noise.

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