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3 Types of Hearing Loss: Causes, Symptoms, and Interventions

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 48 million people in the U.S. experience hearing loss. It can be caused by a number of factors, and there are different types of interventions available depending on the type of hearing loss. Knowing which type you have is critical for getting the right treatment.

In this blog post, we will discuss the three most common types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. We will also discuss the causes, symptoms, and interventions for each one. Let's take a closer look at each type of hearing loss below.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss is the partial or total inability to hear sounds in one or both ears. In other words, it’s a condition that results in decreased hearing ability. It can range from mild to profound and can significantly affect one’s quality of life. People of all ages can be affected, but it’s most commonly seen in older adults.

Here are the three types of hearing loss and their associated causes, symptoms, and treatments:


Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing impairment that is caused by problems with the external or middle ear. This type of hearing loss occurs when sound waves are unable to reach the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss varies in its degree and it can certainly impact a person's ability to communicate and engage in everyday activities.


  • Otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth around the eardrum)

  • Otitis externa or inflammation of the outer ear canal

  • Blockage in the ear canal

  • Stenosis or ear canal narrowing

  • Earwax buildup

  • Otitis media (ear infection or fluid in the middle ear)

  • Obstruction

  • Benign tumours


  • Trouble hearing background noise

  • Ear pain or pressure

  • Difficulty hearing soft sounds

  • Muffled sounds

  • Dizziness


Conductive hearing loss is usually temporary and is mainly treated with medication or surgery. In some cases, hearing aids or hearing implants are used. However, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. If left untreated, conductive hearing loss can lead to permanent damage to the ears.


Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is permanent.


  • Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss)

  • Exposure to loud noise

  • Certain medications

  • Viral infections

  • Head trauma

  • Genetics


  • Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments

  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

  • Sensitivity to loud noise

  • Muffled sounds

  • A feeling of fullness in the ear


There are a number of treatments available that can help improve the quality of life for someone who has been diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. One common intervention is the use of hearing aids, which is a small electronic device that helps amplify sound and makes it easier for the individual to hear. If you need assistance with the selection and fitting of hearing aids, the Hearing Instrument Specialists at Fairway Hearing Center will be able to help you navigate the process.

Another common intervention is cochlear implants, which is an electronic device that is surgically implanted into the ear to provide electrical stimulation to the auditory nerve. This helps people with significant hearing loss in both ears to hear sounds more clearly.

There are also a variety of assistive listening devices that can be used, such as vibrating alarm clocks or notification systems that use flashing lights.

In addition, some people choose to go to speech therapy in order to help improve their communication skills as a result of their hearing loss. Once again, the kind of intervention used will vary depending on the cause of your hearing loss.


Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can occur due to any of the above-mentioned causes. For example, a person may have hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud noises and fluid build-up in their middle ear.

Treatment options will vary depending on the underlying cause but may include a mix of surgical or medical interventions as well as hearing aids or cochlear implants. If the left undiagnosed, mixed hearing loss can lead to the gradual deterioration in hearing ability.

Consult with a Hearing Instrument Specialist

There are many different causes and symptoms of hearing loss, so it’s best to consult with a hearing health professional if you experience any sudden or gradual changes in your ability to hear. More specifically, a Hearing Instrument Specialist can conduct a hearing test and give you a proper evaluation to determine if you are someone who qualifies for a hearing aid.

Visit Fairway Hearing Center

Although hearing loss can be a frustrating and isolating experience, there are many interventions out there that can help. At Fairway Hearing Center, their well-rounded Hearing Instrument Specialists will be able to perform a hearing test, analyze the results, and provide other types of services that will help improve hearing.

If you are experiencing difficulty hearing, schedule an appointment at Fairway Hearing Center today or visit our website to learn more.

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