There are three different categories of hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss
This type of hearing loss affects the transmission of sound between the outer and inner ear. It may be caused by any of the following conditions:
- Heavy wax impaction of the ear canal
- Otitis media (ear infection/glue ear)
- Perforation to the tympanic membrane
- Dislocation to of the three tiny bones (ossicles) in the middle ear space
- Eustachian tube disfunction
- Foreign bodies in the ear canal
- Malformation of the outer or middle ear structures
Sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs to damage in the inner ear (cochlea). Causes of this type of hearing loss include:
- General wear and tear
- Noise induced hearing loss
- Sudden hearing loss
- Ototoxic damage to the cochlea (usually through certain medications)
- Other disruptive events targeting the cochlea and/or the cochlea nerve.
Mixed hearing loss
When a conductive hearing loss occurs at the same time as a sensorineural hearing loss, this is referred to as Mixed Hearing Loss. There may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or nerve pathway to the brain.