Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is categorized primarily based on which part/parts of the ear/ears is affected. Hearing loss is most often categorized as Sensorineural, Conductive, or Mixed.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear or the actual hearing organ itself becomes permanently damaged. Sensorineural loss is the most common type of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss affects approximately six per 1,000 children, and there is no available medical treatment. It can also be a result of aging, loud noise exposure, injury, disease, oto-toxic drugs, or an inherited condition. This type of hearing loss is typically not medically or surgically treatable. Most people find benefit with the use of hearing aids. For people with severe to profound hearing loss, when hearing aids do not offer benefit, cochlear implantation is worth a consideration.
Conductive Hearing Loss
When sound is obstructed due to problems with the middle ear and/or sometimes outer ear, the resulting hearing loss is termed as Conductive hearing loss. Sound may be blocked by earwax or a foreign object located in the ear canal; the middle ear space may be impacted by fluid and infection or a bone abnormality; or the eardrum may be injured. In some cases sound is blocked from entering the ear canal due to structural abnormalities such as Atresia. In most of the cases conductive hearing loss may be a temporary loss that can be reversed by medications or surgery. Temporary conductive hearing loss is most common in children who may have recurrent ear infections, and should not be left undiagnosed, as, it may lead to delay in speech and language development.
Mixed Hearing Loss
This occurs when there is a combination of both Sensorineural and Conductive hearing loss. People may have a Sensorineural hearing loss and then develop a conductive component in addition to their original loss.
Another kind of hearing loss that is not very common is called “Central Hearing Loss” It is also called "central deafness," and results from damage or impairment of the nerves or nuclei of the central nervous system, either in the pathways to the brain or in the brain itself.
"Central auditory processing deficit," is yet another type of loss in which the person has normal hearing, but has difficulty processing and understanding the speech and certain sounds.