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Types of Hearing Loss


  • A conductive hearing loss results from a problem in the outer or middle ear which does not allow sound to pass through the auditory system normally.
  • Causes include: earwax, a perforated eardrum, fluid/infection in the middle ear, calcification of the middle ear bones, etc.
  • Often times, it can be treated medically or surgically
  • Effect: a decrease in loudness


  • A sensorineural loss results from a problem in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.
  • Causes include: aging (presbycusis), noise exposure, genetics, virus, ototoxic medications, etc.
  • This type of loss is typically permanent
  • To improve communication, hearing aids and assistive listening devices may help.


  • Decrease in loudness
  • Decrease in discrimination. Even when things are loud enough, they are not clear. “I can hear, but I do not understand the words.” “Everyone mumbles.”
  • Reduced dynamic range- soft sounds are not loud enough, but louder sounds are uncomfortable


  • A mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and sensorineural loss