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What is hearing loss?


Conductive Hearing Loss - A conductive hearing loss is usually a mild to moderate degree loss that occurs when there is a problem in the outer or middle ear hearing pathway. Conductive hearing loss is characterised by a reduction in the sound level or a diminished ability to hear soft sounds. This condition is usually temporary, and can often be improved with medical treatment. Sometimes, when the conductive hearing loss persists, is chronic or does not respond to medical treatment, hearing aids may be recommended.

Sensori-neural Hearing Loss- Sensori-neural hearing loss usually results when there is a problem in the inner ear of the hearing pathway. Damage to the inner ear (which may be in the hearing organ called the cochlea, or in the auditory nerve pathway) results in a lack of hearing sensitivity and difficulty with discrimination of sounds. Sensori-neural hearing loss can be responsible for a mild, moderate, severe or even a profound loss. As the damage is located in the inner ear, sensori-neural hearing loss is almost always permanent. Hearing aids and a comprehensive rehabilitation plan are usually recommended as treatment.  

Mixed Hearing Loss– Occasionally, a person may suffer from both a combination of conductive and sensori-neural hearing loss. This is known as a mixed hearing loss. Often medical advice recommends to treat the conductive component first, prior to hearing aids being fitted.

Levels of hearing loss

There are many different degrees of hearing loss ranging from a mild loss to a profound loss. Just as everybody is an individual, their hearing loss is individual too.

Click here to understand what the different levels of hearing loss are, and remember to ask your hearing professional to explain your specific hearing loss and what it means.

Causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss can be caused by many different things. In some cases, there is no known cause. Some examples of common causes include noise exposure, genetics, disease and medication. For a comprehensive list of the causes of hearing loss, click here.
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What happens when you visit an Audiologist? 

An audiologist is a trained qualified hearing professional. You will probably require several appointments. The audiologist will usually assess your hearing, fit hearing aids (if you need them) and schedule a follow up to ensure you are not having any problems. Click here to see a more detailed example of what you might expect at your appointments.