Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss | Springfield, MA

We want our paitents in Springfield, Northhampton, and Ware to know that hearing loss can be classified in a variety of ways. These include degree of hearing loss (how severe the loss is), configuration of hearing loss (which pitches are affected), and type of hearing loss (which parts of the auditory system are damaged).

Degree of hearing loss is generally described using one of five categories: mild, moderate, moderately-severe, severe, or profound hearing loss.

The configuration, or shape, of the hearing loss refers to the pitch range(s) affected. For example, an individual with less ability to hear high pitches would be described as having a high-frequency hearing loss.

Types of Hearing Loss

There are three different types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss. Conductive hearing losses result from a disruption in the path of sound from the outer ear through the middle ear. Some causes of this type of hearing loss include ear infections, fluid in the ears, holes in the ear drum, earwax buildup, growths in the ear canal or behind the eardrum, or a malformation in the ear anatomy. This type of hearing loss can often be medically or surgically treated.

A sensorineural hearing loss, on the other hand, is generally not treatable. This type of hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the hearing nerve. Some causes of sensorineural hearing loss include prolonged noise exposure, aging, genetic factors, toxic medications, and tumors. This type of hearing loss not only affects a person’s ability to detect sounds at certain levels, it also often impairs the clarity of speech.

It is also possible for an individual to have more than one area of the auditory system impaired. When a person has both a conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural hearing loss in the same ear, it is called a mixed hearing loss.

For specific questions about your hearing loss, consult your doctor or audiologist.

For more information on hearing loss, and treatment options in Springfield, MA call Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeons of Western New England, LLC at (413) 732-7426 today.