Types of Hearing Loss

Photo of an hand cupped behind someone's earThere are more than 48 million people in Los Angeles and throughout the country with hearing loss. Much like the two types of vision problems, nearsightedness and farsightedness, there are two distinct types of hearing loss. Understanding the difference between these two types of hearing loss can ensure you receive the best treatment plan for your distinct type hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss.

This type of hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the outer of middle ear, which includes the ear canal, eardrum and middle ear. There are a variety of causes including:

  • Structural deformities
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Ear infection
  • Allergies
  • Impacted earwax
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Foreign objects in the ear
  • Otosclerosis
  • Benign tumors

According to your Los Angeles audiologist, this type of hearing loss is typically treated with surgery or medication.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss is also called nerve deafness. It occurs when there is a problem with the inner ear, including the auditory nerve. Causes for this type of hearing loss include:

  • Aging
  • Noise exposure
  • Trauma
  • Viruses
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Otosclerosis
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Malformations of the inner ear and tumors

The treatment for this type of hearing loss typically includes the use of a hearing aid.

Secret Option Three – Mixed Hearing Loss

Ok, so we lied before; there is actually a third type of hearing loss called mixed hearing loss. This is a combination of both, meaning that someone will have a problem with both their inner ear and their middle or outer ear.

The treatment options for this type of hearing loss depend on the exact cause and typically include a combination of medications, surgery and hearing aids.

More Than Just Types of Hearing Loss?

In addition to the exact type of hearing loss, your audiologist also considers the degree of your symptoms. Hearing loss is broken down into the following categories:

  • Normal
  • Slight
  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Moderately severe
  • Severe
  • Profound

Hearing loss is also categorized as being either monaural (one ear) or binaural (two ears).

Unilateral hearing loss (sometimes referred to as single-sided deafness) affects one ear only, while bilateral hearing loss affects both ears. Those with unilateral hearing loss have normal hearing in one ear and impaired hearing in the other; they have difficulty hearing on one side and localizing sound. This type of hearing loss is usually associated with conductive causes. Those with bilateral hearing loss have impaired hearing in both ears. The condition is most often treated with hearing aids (two are more effective than one) or cochlear implants.

As you can see, there are a lot of determinations to make about your hearing loss. This is exactly why you meet with your audiologist; they are the experts.


This information is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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