Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss (CHL) happens when the sound is not adequately carried through the ear canal or the ear drum and the tiny bones of the middle ear to the inner ear. Patients typically report trouble hearing faint or soft sounds. This type of loss can often be correct medically or surgically; therefore, a referral is made to an Otolaryngologist or Ear, Nose, and Throat physician. Possible causes of CHL included, but are not limited to, the following: excessive wax in the ear canal, outer ear infection, middle ear infection, malformation of the outer ear or middle ear, etc.

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) happens when there is damage to the inner ear or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Patients typically reports trouble hearing faint sounds. Patients also might report that they hear speech, but it is muffled or they don’t understand. This type of loss usually cannot be medically or surgically corrected. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. Possible causes of SNHL include, but are not limited to, the following: illnesses, ototoxic drugs/medications, genetic or hereditary hearing loss, aging, head trauma, malformation of the inner ear, exposure to loud noise, etc.

Mixed hearing loss (MHL) happens when a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. This means that there is damage to the outer or middle ear and the inner ear or the auditory nerve.

Signs of Hearing Loss

If you experience any of the following, consider making an appointment with an audiologist. You feel like you can hear, but cannot understand.

  • You have difficulty following the conversation with two or more people talking at the same time.
  • The people you talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly.
  • Others complain that you turn the TV volume up too high.
  • You have trouble hearing in a noisy background or restaurants.
  • You have ringing or buzzing in your ears.
  • You find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, or respond inappropriately.
  • Your family or co-workers remark that you miss what has been said.
  • You have trouble understand the speech of women and children.
  • People get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say.