There are three broad categories of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.

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This hearing loss is usually easily treated medically or surgically as it is due to a reduction in sound because of an ineffective sound transference in the outer or middle ear.

Some possible causes of a conductive hearing loss include:

  • Middle ear infection (otitis media)
  • Fluid in the middle ear (due to flu or colds)
  • Poor equalization between the ears and the atmosphere (Eustachian tube dysfunction)
  • Impacted earwax (cerumen)
  • Outer ear infection (otitis externa / swimmer’s ear)
  • Malformation in the ear canal or middle ear
  • Benign tumors
  • Perforation in the eardrum
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This is usually a permanent hearing loss due to damage in the inner ear (cochlea, hearing nerves or brainstem). Depending on the cause of the hearing loss, it can either be treated surgically or with assistive devices (hearing aids).

Some possible causes of a sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis)
  • Noise exposure
  • Use of certain medication (ototoxicity)
  • Tumors (e.g. acoustic neuroma)
  • Injury / trauma
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Infections passed from mother to baby in the womb (e.g. toxoplasmosis, rubella, herpes)
  • Genetic syndromes
  • Meniere’s disease
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This is a combination of a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Depending on the causes, is the conductive component usually treated medically or surgically first and then the remaining sensorineural component is treated with assistive devices (hearing aids).


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