Different Types of Hearing Loss

Not all hearing loss is the same. There are different types of hearing loss and different reasons that hearing becomes impaired. The hearing health care specialists at Center for Better Hearing are trained to expertly diagnose the type and level of hearing loss you may experience. This diagnosis is critical in selecting the appropriate treatment for your hearing loss.

Degrees of hearing loss

Hearing loss is defined by the degree of hearing that is lost. It may be considered mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound. Sound is measured in decibels, and hearing loss is measured in hearing loss in decibels (dB HL). In most cases, the degree of hearing loss is measured as follows:

Degree of hearing loss

Hearing loss range in dB HL


16 – 25


26 to 40


41 to 55

Moderately severe

56 to 70


71 to 90



Types of hearing loss

Hearing loss may be conductive, sensorineural or a combination of both. Depending on the type of hearing loss, the loss may be permanent or temporary. If you notice any change in your hearing, it’s important to have it checked out right away. We have convenient hours for your hearing evaluation and work with your schedule.

Conductive hearing loss

This form of hearing loss is caused by problems in conducting sound to the inner ear. The source of the problem may be the ear canal, eardrum (tympanic membrane) or the middle ear. With this type of hearing loss, the function of the inner ear and the auditory nerve are not affected.

Possible causes of conductive hearing loss are:

  • Outer or middle ear infections
  • Earwax blockage
  • Deterioration of bones in the middle ear
  • Otosclerosis
  • Hole in the eardrum
  • Deformities in outer or middle ear structures

Depending on the cause, some conductive hearing loss can be corrected. In other cases, hearing aids or other assistive devices may be required.

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by issues with the cochlea or auditory nerve. Most sensorineural hearing loss occurs because of damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. Damaged hair cells can’t transmit sound properly, and hearing loss is the result. Damaged hair cells cannot be repaired and result in permanent hearing loss.

This type of hearing loss is caused by:

  • Congenital defects
  • Exposure to noise
  • Trauma to the head or ear
  • Infection
  • Ototoxic drugs
  • Natural effect of aging

Hearing aids are the most common treatment for this type of hearing loss.

Mixed hearing loss

As the name implies, mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. It occurs when there are problems with the inner ear and the outer or middle ear. Mixed hearing loss may be treated with medical management and/or hearing aids.