There are three different categories of hearing loss, they are:

Conductive hearing loss:

a type of hearing loss that affects the transmission of sound between the outer and inner ear. May be caused by any of the following conditions:

  • Heavy wax impaction of the ear canal
  • Otitis media (ear infection/glue ear)
  • Perforation to the tympanic membrane
  • Dislocation to of the three tiny bones (ossicles) in the middle ear space
  • Eustachian tube disfunction
  • Otosclerosis
  • Foreign bodies in the ear canal
  • Malformation of the outer or middle ear structures

Most conductive hearing losses are treatable medical conditions, however some may necessitate surgical intervention to resolve.

Sensorineural hearing loss:

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs to damage in the inner ear (cochlea). Causes of this type of hearing loss include: general wear and tear; noise induced hearing loss; sudden hearing loss; ototoxic damage to the cochlea (usually through certain medications); trauma; disease; other disruptive events targeting the cochlea and/or the cochlea nerve.

In most instances, sensorineural hearing loss will not respond to medical treatment.

Mixed hearing loss:

Refers to hearing loss consisting of both a conductive and sensorineural component.