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Causes and types of hearing loss

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Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system is affected.  There are 3 basic types of hearing loss:  sensorineural, conductive and mixed

Sensorineural Hearing Loss - occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or hearing nerve in the brain.

Some causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Aging - gradual age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis
  • Excessive exposure to loud noise
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Certain Medications
  • Meniere's Disease
  • Acoustic Neuroma a tumour which is located between the ear and the brain
  • Hereditary factors

Conductive Hearing Loss - occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the ear canal, ear drum or middle ear.

Some causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • Infection of the ear canal or middle ear
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
  • Wax build-up
  • Dislocation of the ossicles (three middle-ear bones)
  • Foreign objects in the ear canal
  • Otosclerosis
  • Unusual growths, tumours

Mixed Hearing Loss – occurs when there is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive issues.  In other words, both the middle ear and inner ear are affected.

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