There are three basic types of hearing loss – conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss or mixed hearing loss. However, some people also experience tinnitus or also known as “ringing in the ears.”
Conductive – Conductive hearing loss is caused by any condition or disease that blocks or impedes the conveyance of sound through the outer and middle ear. This results in reduction in sound intensity (loudness) that reaches the inner ear.
Sensorineural Loss – Sensorineural hearing loss results from inner ear or auditory nerve dysfunction. The cause is often undetermined and is typically irreversible and permanent. It, too, reduces the intensity of sound, but it may result in a lack of clarity when sounds aren’t loud enough.
Mixed Loss – A mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Tinnitus or “Ringing in the Ears” –Tinnitus is the perception of sounds – often described as ringing, buzzing, humming, roaring or whistling – not normally present in the external environment. For a quick overview of Tinnitus, read Dr. Miller’s What is Tinnitus?. For an in-depth review of Tinnitus, read Your Guide to Tinnitus “Ringing in the Ear”.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to impaired memory, inability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness and more.