There are three types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss can be acquired or congenital and is caused by blockage or damage in the outer and/or middle ear. A conductive hearing loss leads to a loss of loudness and can often be helped by medical or surgical treatment.
Some of the causes of conductive hearing losses are:
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss leads to a loss of loudness as well as a lack of clarity. The quantity and the quality of sound are affected and sometimes may limit the benefit of a hearing aid.
Causes of acquired sensorineural hearing loss include:
In Australia, 20 children per 10,000 live births will be born with a congenital sensorineural hearing impairment. Causes include:
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss results when there is a problem in both the conductive pathway (in the outer or middle ear) and in the nerve pathway (the inner ear). An example of a mixed hearing loss is a conductive loss due to a middle-ear infection combined with a sensorineural loss due to damage associated with ageing.