Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can affect a person’s ability to detect, hear, or process sounds.  Hearing loss affects loudness and clarity.  There are varying degrees of hearing loss and different types of hearing loss.

The type of hearing loss depends on which part of the ear is affected. The most common types of hearing loss include:


Conductive Hearing Loss occurs when there is a problem conducting sound through the outer or middle ear, and it can be temporary or permanent. Some types of conductive hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically. Common causes include ear infections, wax build-up, perforation of the eardrum,  swimmer’s ear, atresia, cholesteatoma, and otosclerosis.


Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or to the auditory nerve, and it is usually permanent. Common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include congenital hearing loss,  genetic or hereditary hearing loss, hearing loss due to aging, head trauma, exposure to loud noise, illness, or ototoxic medications. The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss usually includes hearing aids or a cochlear implant.


Mixed Hearing Loss occurs when there is a combination of a conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural hearing loss. In the case of mixed hearing loss, there is damage in both the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear.



  • Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States (American Academy of Audiology).
  • Approximately 10% of Americans, or 33 million people, report hearing difficulty (MarkeTrak survey).
  • More than half of the people with hearing loss are younger than age 65 (American Academy of Audiology).
  • About 30% of adults over age 65 have hearing loss, and 40-50% of adults over age 75 have hearing loss (American Academy of Audiology).