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Types of Hearing Loss

When speaking about hearing loss, Sears Centre Hearing Health Care Professionals consider three factors: the type, degree and configuration of the hearing loss.

The two most basic types of hearing loss are conductive and sensorineural. In some cases, a person will have mixed loss which is a combination of both.

Conductive hearing loss: sound isn’t transferring easily from the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the little bones of the middle ear. Faint sounds can be harder to hear. Ear infection, hole in the eardrum, or Swimmer’s ear can be possible causes. The loss can often be corrected by surgery or medicine.

Sensorineural hearing loss: when the inner ear or nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain are damaged permanent hearing loss can result. Even when speech is clear it can sound muffled. Genetic or hereditary hearing loss, certain medications, aging, head trauma and exposure to noise are all causes. Hearing aids can be a solution for this type of hearing loss.

The degree of hearing loss refers to severity. Hearing is measured in decibels (dB), and degrees of loss such as Mild, Moderate, Severe and Profound each have associated decibel ranges. So while two people may have the same type of hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss will affect how well they each hear differently.

The configuration of the hearing loss refers to a pattern across frequencies, or tones. Your Sears Centre Hearing Health Care Professional will produce an audiogram during your hearing test the pattern of which will show whether your hearing is affected across low or high frequencies.

Find a clinic near you or call 1.800.822.4327 (HEAR) for a complimentary hearing consultation.

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