Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, and makes sounds appear distorted or faint.
Causes - The delicate nerve cells in the inner ear are damaged, making sounds appear distorted and faint. Usually caused by:
- Natural ageing
- Exposure to loud noises
Treatment - The damaged cells will remain so permanently, however thanks to modern technology this can be treated with hearing devices.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds can’t reach the inner ear, and causes sounds to appear faint, yet not distorted.
Causes - A blockage in the middle or outer ear, making sounds appear faint, yet not distorted. Usually caused by:
- build up of ear wax
- fluid in the middle ear
- perforated eardrums
Treatment - This type of hearing loss can often be treated by medical or surgical means.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both types of hearing loss, and typically makes sounds appear both softer in volume and more difficult to understand.
Causes - Happens when both types of hearing loss are present, and there is damage in both the outer and inner ear.
Treatment - Depending on the degree of hearing loss, it may be treated with medications, surgery, hearing aids or other hearing devices.
Tinnitus is a constant ringing or buzzing noise in the ears. It’s not a type of hearing loss, but usually a symptom of a problem within a person’s hearing pathway.
Causes - The causes of tinnitus is not always known but can occur as a result of stress or tiredness, exposure to loud noise, or the side effects of some medications.
Treatment - There is no known cure for tinnitus but it can be managed with the help of technology and a few lifestyle changes such as keeping the ears ‘busy’ with background noise. Learn more about tinnitus here.