Today I’d like to discuss with you the different types of hearing loss that exist.

Hearing loss is a very tricky topic because to most people who don’t experience it; it’s invisible to them that someone is having hearing difficulties; for the person that has the difficulty, it can be quite profound.

Hearing loss comes in different shapes, sizes, and forms. Our ear has three main parts that are crucial for delivering sounds to our brain.

First, we have the outer ear, which is the pinna in our ear canal.

Second is the middle ear, which includes: the eardrum, the middle ear’s tiny bones, and the middle ear cavity.

Thirdly our inner ear is the chambered nautilus snail-looking organ. The three parts work together to make hearing normal.

The outer ear needs to be clear for sound to travel down it to enable it to impact the eardrum, which causes the vibration of the drum that moves the tiny bones of the middle ear. This then moves the final bone in and out of the inner ear, causing motion, which activates and stimulates the hair cells that send a signal to the nerve to the brain.

Any problem along this pathway can result in hearing loss. Some hearing loss is temporary and treatable; those types are typically what we call conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss happens when the ear is blocked from sending sound inside. If I simply putting my finger over my ear, this causes conductive hearing loss; If I take my finger away, my hearing is normal again.

Another common cause of conductive hearing loss is wax in the canal, and when the wax is obstructive, it blocks sound. When it’s removed – If the hearing was otherwise normal –  it resumes its normality.

Middle ear problems such as middle ear fluid or malformation of middle ear bones cause conductive hearing loss.

Permanent hearing loss resides mostly from damage to our inner ear hair cells. There is no blockage from conduction, but when the cells are damaged or broken, sound does not receive or be received by the receptors as well. Therefore it decreases the signal being sent to the nerve and up to the brain.

Finally, there can be what is called a mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of conductive hearing loss and a loss in the inner ear.

A Summary of The Three Types of Hearing Loss

  • Conductive – usually a blockage along the pathway in the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear
  • Cochlear or sensorineural (permanent) – damage to the inner ear cells can cause a mis-transformation of information to the nerve and brain.
  • Mixed hearing loss – a combination of a conductive and a cochlear hearing loss together.

I hope that you found this information helpful about the types of hearing loss that exist; thank you for stopping by.

If you or a loved one are concerned about your hearing and would like to schedule an initial consultation with me, please don’t hesitate to contact me here. I offer a range of suitable appointment options during this challenging time should you not wish to visit the office.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Michelle Couture-Souvenir, Au.D

Dr. Michelle Couture-Souvenir, Au.D., is Florida’s leading doctor of audiology and has over 25 years of experience in this dynamic industry. Before setting up her own business in Florida & Central America, she served as a pediatric audiologist and rehabilitative services manager at the Miami Children’s Hospital. She has worked with patients of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds during her long and diverse career, and she is still heavily involved in international humanitarian projects, helping hearing-impaired children globally.