Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
• Sound energy is blocked from reaching the inner ear normally.
• Possible causes include: fluid behind eardrum, earwax build-up,
perforated eardrum, fixation of middle ear bones, etc.
• In many cases, it may be medically or surgically treatable.
• Typically, these individuals obtain significant benefit from hearing aids;
however, surgical correction is frequently an option if medically appropriate.
o May receive significant benefit from osseointergrated implanted
hearing aids if medical treatment or air conduction hearing aids
are not appropriate.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
• Inner ear (cochlea) and/or hearing nerve damaged so sound is not processed
• Possible causes include: noise, medications, disease, aging etc.
• In some cases (less than 10%), it is medically or surgically treatable.
• These individuals often obtain significant benefit from hearing aids or
other amplifying devices.
• Cochlear implants often provide significant hearing to children and adults
who do not receive the benefit from hearing aids.
Mixed Hearing Loss
• There is both a conductive and sensorineural part to the hearing loss.
• A portion of the loss may be medically or surgically treatable.
• Typically, these individuals will obtain significant benefit from hearing aids or
other amplifying devices.
Common Signs of Hearing Loss
• Feeling you can hear, but you can’t understand the words clearly.
• Feeling others mumble when speaking.
• Ringing or hissing noises in your ears or head.
• Turning up the TV or radio.
• Frequently asking others to repeat conversation.
• Poor speech development in young children.
• Worsening of school performance in children.
Effects of Hearing Loss on Communication
The type of hearing loss and its severity determines how a person’s communication will be effected.
Mild Hearing Loss
• Causes difficulty hearing soft speech at conversational level.
• Difficulty hearing in noise.
Moderate Hearing Loss
• Causes difficulty hearing speech at conversational level.
• Increasing difficulty in group discussions and significant problems
understanding in background noise.
Moderately-Severe Hearing Loss
• Can hear only loud speech in quiet situations.
• Extreme difficulty understanding conversation in background noise.
Severe Hearing Loss
• Typically will not hear loud speech.
• Relies heavily on speech/lip-reading cues.
• May be a candidate for a cochlear implant.
Profound Hearing Loss
• May hear loud environmental sounds.
• Likely to be a good cochlear implant candidate, depending on duration
of profound hearing loss.