There are three primary types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss, as well as a rare fourth type, central hearing loss. Read below to learn more about these different types of hearing loss, as well as their symptoms and treatments.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural (sen-sor-ee-nuh-ral) hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. It occurs due to damage to cells or nerve fibers in the inner ear. This damage sometimes occurs due to aging and is known then as Presbycusis. While there is no way to cure sensorineural hearing loss, it is regularly treated with hearing aids with great success, particularly when treated before the loss worsens.
Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss may report:
- Muffled sounds and speech
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble understanding speech in background noise
Conductive Hearing Loss
In conductive hearing loss, there is a problem in the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear that prevents sound from being conducted to the inner ear. Problems might include outer or middle ear infections, a perforated eardrum, or a large earwax blockage. Depending on the cause, this type of hearing loss may be temporary. This type of hearing loss is regularly treated with hearing aids, including bone-anchored and bone conduction hearing aids.
Symptoms of Conductive Hearing Loss
Individuals with conductive hearing loss may report:
- Muffled sounds
- Quiet sounds
Central Hearing Loss
In central hearing loss, sound is successfully transferred to the brain, but cannot be processed correctly. This rare type of hearing loss is present from birth and cannot be treated with hearing aids.