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Conductive hearing loss

Conductive vs sensorineural hearing loss

Hearing loss affects people of all ages and can be caused by a variety of factors. However, there are two basic types: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. Here’s what you should know about each of them.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by issues with the outer or middle ear that block sound waves from reaching the inner ear. These problems are often the result of fluid buildup, an infection or a bone abnormality in the middle ear. A blockage in the ear canal or an injury to the eardrum can also lead to this type of hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is particularly common in children with recurrent ear infections.

Sensorineural hearing loss

This is the most common type of hearing loss. It can occur if there’s damage to the inner ear, the hearing nerve or the hair cells within the cochlea. Damage to the ear can be the result of an injury, disease, aging or exposure to loud noise. Sometimes people are born with sensorineural hearing loss.

With this type of hearing loss, sounds seem quieter or distorted. It’s common for higher frequency sounds to be affected first.

Mixed hearing loss

Many people are affected by both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss at the same time. This is referred to as mixed hearing loss and is caused by a variety of factors.

Hearing loss treatments

Identifying what type of hearing loss you have will help determine the best course of treatment. It will also indicate whether or not the condition is reversible and if you can expect to rely on hearing aids in the future.

For many people, conductive hearing loss can be reversed. If you have this type of hearing loss, your audiologist will guide you through your options and help make appropriate referrals to physicians or surgeons for further treatment if required.

On the other hand, sensorineural hearing loss isn’t treated through medical or surgical means as the condition is typically permanent. However, many people find relief through hearing aids.

Those with mixed hearing loss may require medical treatment in combination with hearing aids.

Schedule a hearing test today

The only way to determine which type of hearing loss you’re experiencing is with a hearing test. At Soundwave Hearing Care, all such tests are conducted by a member of our clinical team and include advice about the best treatment options available to you. Contact the Alberta location closest to you to schedule your hearing test in Grande Prairie, High River or Calgary.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.