Types of Hearing Loss



There are many different causes types of hearing loss that can affect people, and it can be useful to understand the terms used to describe the various types of loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of loss involves either damage or obstruction in a part of the external or middle ear. The vibrations caused by sound are having difficulty being communicated through the air, bone, or human tissue of the ear and hearing system. Conductive hearing losses are often correctable with treatment from a healthcare professional such as an ENT or primary care doctor.

Causes: Blockage of the ear, impacted ear wax, blood, congenital birth defect, or foreign objects.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural refers to the loss existing within the Cochlea, better known to many as the part of your hearing system that contains the tiny hair cells that help transmit sound energy to the brain. Damage to the cochlea or these hair cells is not reversible, and can be caused by many sources, including but not limited to the following:

  • Diabetes – Diabetes is known to affect all parts of the body that have small blood vessels, specifically the eyes, kidneys, hands, and feet. People with Diabetes are twice as likely to have a hearing loss, and people with Pre-Diabetes are 30% more likely to experience hearing loss.

  • Cardiovascular Disease – The internal parts of our ears are extremely susceptible to changes in blood flow. Any disease or condition causing irregular cardiovascular activity can have a serious effect on the inner ear.

  • Ototoxic Medications – Many people aren’t aware of the medications they take that can cause hearing loss. Here is a list of commonly known medications that can affect your ability to hear and understand. List of Ototoxic Medications

  • Loud Noise Exposure – Noise can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss. When gauging whether you may be at risk, take into account that it is a combination of how loud and how long you are around a noise that will cause a loss. List of Maximum Noise Exposure Intensity and Duration

  • Old Age or Presbycusis – As we age, certain parts of our bodies tend to wear out with use. Our ears are being used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are often affected by outside events that don’t make physical contact. A lifetime of noise exposure, ototoxic medication use, and other health related items can group together to result in Age Related Hearing Loss

  • Meniere’s Disease – If you are experience a fullness of the ear, vertigo or dizziness, hearing loss that comes and goes, and tinnitus, you may have a condition known as Meniere’s Disease. Consult a healthcare professional for more information, but be aware that this is a reasonably common form of hearing loss.