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Types of hearing loss – and their causes

The brief descriptions below give you an idea of the different types of hearing loss, and what causes them. For more information please contact your local hearing clinic.

Age-related hearing loss

As we get older, some of us lose our ability to hear softer, highpitched sounds. Birdsong is fairly easy to live without, but getting by when you lose some of the building blocks of speech is a far more challenging aff air. It may creep up slowly, but eventually it will seriously affect the person’s ability to communicate. That is why it should be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Noise-induced hearing loss

This type of hearing loss is caused by overexposure to excessive sound levels. All over the world, people are encountering increasingly more sound. It threatens the hearing of military personnel, police officers, construction and factory workers, farmers, dentists and kindergarten teachers – to name but a few. Rock concerts and MP3 players can also damage people’s hearing.

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss is caused by problems in the outer and middle ear, which can prevent sounds getting through to the inner ear. The most common causes can be a build-up of wax in the ear canal, perforated eardrums, fluid in the middle ear, or damaged or defective ossicles (middle ear bones). In many cases this type of hearing loss can be treated medically.

Sensorineural hearing loss

This type of hearing loss happens when the delicate sensory cells or nerve fibres in the inner ear get damaged. This stops them transmitting sound properly. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are the natural process of ageing or excessive exposure to noise. This condition is in most cases permanent.