Different Types of Hearing Loss

Diffrent Types Of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be categorized by many different types. Two main types of hearing loss are “sensorineural” and “conductive.” Both of these types of hearing loss can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life.

Sensorineural hearing loss involves loss of function within the inner ear or with the connection to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by

Congenital factors (conditions present at birth):

  • Infection by the mother with toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes, or syphilis
  • Genetic factors and syndromes the child has at birth
  • Low birthweight
  • Hereditary – in the family

Acquired factors (occurred after birth):

  • Loud noise exposure
  • Trauma
  • Infections
  • Damage from certain medications that can be harmful to the ears

Conductive hearing loss involves a problem in the outer or middle ear in which sound waves are not sent to the inner ear correctly. Conductive hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss in children and is usually acquired. Conductive hearing loss is caused by:

Congenital factors (present at birth):

  • Anomalies of the auricle (the outside of the ear)
  • Anomalies of the tympanic membrane (eardrum)
  • Anomalies of the external ear canal
  • Anomalies of the ossicles (the three tiny bones that deliver the sound waves to the middle ear)

Acquired factors (occurred after birth):

  • Excessive wax
  • Foreign bodies in the ear canal, such as beads or popcorn kernels
  • Tumors of the middle ear
  • Problems with the eustachian tube
  • Ear infections, such as otitis media
  • Chronic ear infections with fluid in the middle ear
  • Perforation of the eardrum