Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the most widespread health problems in the United States. And because it is usually painless, invisible and is clouded with so much misinformation, many people are confused when it comes to making decisions about their hearing health.

At HearWell Audiology, serving patients in the Los Gatos, Sonoma and San Jose areas in California, we understand the apprehension that is associated with hearing loss and hearing devices. We believe providing you with accurate information is empowering, and will assist you in making the right choices in treating your hearing loss. We don’t make decisions for you, we work with you, as your partner on your journey to better hearing.

One of the first steps on this journey is to ascertain your type of hearing loss. It will help us determine which treatment options are available.

There are three main types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive and mixed.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs from damage to the cochlea (inner ear) or to the pathways from the cochlea to the brain. This is the most common type of hearing loss.

  • Often treated with hearing devices, but if your hearing loss is too severe, cochlear implants may be considered, contingent on certain qualifying factors.
  • Exposure to loud sounds (noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL) aging, ototoxic medications, head trauma, and certain illnesses are possible causes.

Conductive hearing loss develops when sound cannot travel through the ear canal to the eardrum and the bones in the middle ear, resulting in limited sound.

  • Treatment options will be based on the severity of hearing loss and include surgery, medications, hearing devices, or possibly an implantable direct bone conduction system.
  • Malformation of the ear, ear infections, allergies, perforated ear drum, swimmer’s ear are just some of the causes of this type of hearing loss.

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive factors. There may be damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve as well as to the damage to the outer or middle ear.

  • Treatment options depend on severity of hearing loss and include hearing devices, surgery, medications, or an implantable direct bone conduction system.

Knowing your type of hearing loss and understanding what it means are crucial in deciding on a course of treatment.

Are you in the Sonoma Valley, Los Gatos or San Jose areas in California and looking for comprehensive solutions for your hearing loss? Schedule your appointment with HearWell Audiology, the partner on your path to a better quality of life.