Types of hearing loss

Whether you were born with impaired hearing or you experienced a gradual loss with age, it’s important to educate yourself on the different types of hearing loss.

Part of our mission at HearingLife is to educate you on hearing and audiology. It is important to understand the various types of hearing loss. They are sensorineural, conductive, congenital and mixed hearing loss, which includes components of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

The first step to finding solutions is identifying your type of hearing loss. This helps our hearing practitioners and you to identify options, including hearing aid types, and to prevent further deterioration or damage. We will then explain the alternatives so you can make the best choice for your particular situation. That's why it's important to understand:

  • When did it occur?

    Congenital hearing loss is present at birth and is caused by genetic factors, maternal health problems or birth injuries

    Acquired hearing loss begins after birth

  • Is it a temporary condition?

    A medical condition such as a blockage of earwax can cause hearing loss

    Noise-induced hearing loss can result from exposure to very loud noise. This is also called temporary threshold shift

  • Which part of the ear?

    Conductive hearing loss usually comes from a disruption of the sound's path to the inner ear from the outer or middle ear

    Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the delicate nerve fibers or hairs called cilia of the inner ear become damaged

If you are experiencing ringing, buzzing, clicking or other sounds that have no explainable origin, you likely have tinnitus. This is not an illness, but a symptom that often accompanies hearing deficits.

More about tinnitus

What are the four different types of hearing loss?

Whether you have sensorineural, conductive, congenital or mixed hearing loss, your condition, the intensity of your hearing loss and your lifestyle will all impact your treatment options

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the ear’s sensory cells and/or nerves are damaged or harmed. This occurs often in older adults who lose their hearing gradually over time. Although permanent, we have options with a high degree of success. 

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This type of hearing impairment occurs when sound waves cannot penetrate from the outer ear to the inner ear, sometimes due to a blockage, infection or trauma in the middle ear. Good news: this may be reversible.

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Types of hearing loss

Some people are born with hearing loss, which is caused either by genetic factors, during pregnancy or during childbirth. People with congenital hearing loss suffer from a loss of functionality in the hearing organs, which may only become apparent later in life. Since it can affect a child’s development, it is very important to begin treating it quickly.

Get the facts
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Did you know that you can have more than one type of hearing loss? You may have both a blockage and an issue with age-related hearing loss. It helps to understand how hearing works so you can understand what solutions, such as hearing aids or medical procedures, might be best for you.

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