Different Types of Hearing Loss

Having a hearing test is way more involved than simply understanding how well you can hear certain pitches. Diagnostic audiometry (the type of hearing test we do at Cardiff Hearing) enables us to essentially pin point where there is likely to be a problem.

There are three types of hearing loss

These are:

  1. Sensorineural
  2. Conductive
  3. Mixed hearing loss

Before we go into the types of hearing loss, let’s review with a handy picture of what the hearing system in our bodies look like and the names of each part:

Sensorineural is the most common type of hearing loss and is caused by the damage to the nerves and hair cells of the inner ear usually due to age, damage caused by noise or something else. This type of hearing loss means there is a problem either in the inner ear (the cochlea) or the auditory nerve that delivers the sound to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be treated medically or surgically but can be helped with hearing aids. Sensorineural hearing loss is a permanent type of hearing loss.

This type of hearing loss occurs in the middle (where the ear drum is) or outer ear ( the ear canal) where sound waves are unable to travel through to the ear drum and on to the middle and inner ear. The sound may be blocked by earwax or a foreign object in the ear canal, there may be fluid or infection in the middle ear, the ear drum may have been injured, or perhaps the tiny bones (the ossicles – the smallest bones in the human body!) behind the ear drum aren’t working very well. Conductive hearing loss can sometimes be treated medically or surgically. This type of hearing loss is common amongst children who may have recurrent ear infections or who insert foreign objects into their ear canal. Ear wax is a common cause of temporary conductive hearing loss.

Some people may have a combination of both types of hearing loss. They may have had a sensorineural loss and then developed an additional conductive element or vice versa!

Having a hearing test is important to establish what type of hearing loss a person has to help determine the hearing care solution that is the right one, and if necessary, provide medical referrals to obtain treatment.

If you’d like to book in for a hearing test at Cardiff Hearing, you can do so by clicking the link.