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Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss Overview
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Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss, also known as “nerve loss,” is a result of damage to the microscopic hair cells within the inner ear and/or to the nerve of hearing. This damage can be due to genetics, advancing age, or noise exposure.
Approximately 90% of hearing losses are sensorineural. In fact, most people who wear hearing aids have sensorineural hearing loss. In most cases, these types of hearing loss are permanent and cannot be treated by medication or surgery. Hearing aids are thus the primary mode of treatment. In cases of severe or profound cases, cochlear implants may be a consideration.
Conductive Hearing Loss
A conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not able to reach a healthy inner ear adequately. This can be due to a blockage in the ear canal such as wax, fluid in the typically dry middle ear space, poor movement of the bones (ossicles) located in the middle ear, or conditions where people have malformed or absent ear canals and/or pinnae (the visible portion of the ear on the side of the head).
Conductive hearing loss accounts for 5-10% of hearing losses and are generally treated by medication or surgery.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural (“nerve loss”) and conductive hearing losses which occur simultaneously. Surgery, hearing aids and assistive listening devices are all treatment options.