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Types of Hearing Loss

Most people have heard of nerve hearing, but what does it really mean? Dr. Wilson can help to identify the type of hearing loss you have. Read more about types of hearing loss from your audiologist at Grace Hearing and Language Services.

Temporary or Permanent Hearing Loss

You can have a temporary hearing loss or you can have a permanent hearing loss. A temporary hearing loss is also called a temporary threshold shift. A permanent hearing loss is called a permanent threshold shift. A temporary threshold shift (TTS) may occur after exposure to very loud music, such as a loud music concert.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

A hearing loss can be sensorineural or it can be conductive. If it is a sensorineural hearing loss the hearing loss is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. The causes of a sensorineural hearing loss can be noise, age, medication, lifestyle, as well as genetic causes. Special types of a sensorineural hearing loss are known as sloping hearing loss and cookie bite hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss is caused by the inability to conduct sound from the outer ear and the middle ear into the inner ear. Some specific causes of conductive hearing loss are impacted cerumen (wax), dysfunction of the tympanic membrane (eardrum), dysfunction of the middle ear bones, middle-ear infection, or middle-ear fluid.

Sensorineural and Conductive or Mixed

You can also have a sensorineural hearing loss and a conductive hearing loss at the same time. This is called a mixed hearing loss.

Unilateral or Bilateral (one ear or both ears)

You can have hearing impairment in one ear or in both ears. If you have a hearing loss in just one ear it is called single sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss. If you have hearing loss on both ears it is called a bilateral hearing loss.

Sudden Hearing Loss (or Sudden Idiopathic Deafness - SID)

A hearing loss may occur without warning, then it is referred to as sudden hearing loss or sudden idiopathic deafness. Anyone experiencing this should see a physician (or go to Emergency/Urgent Care).

Hearing losses can also be named by their causes, such as:

  • A noise-induced hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud noise.
  • An age-related hearing loss (also called presbycusis) is caused by aging.
  • A genetic hearing loss is caused by genetic factors and gene mutations.

Learn more about how types of hearing loss may be affected by visiting the “Signs of Hearing Loss” page and take charge of Your hearing!