Hearing Loss

What’s the Difference Between Sensorineural & Conductive Hearing Loss?

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Hearing loss can affect people of any age. When many of us think about hearing loss, we think of it as being something that happens gradually over time. In fact, many of us may think of it as being a normal part of the aging process. Age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is not the only cause of hearing loss; there are multiple causes that can include:

There are three basic categories of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. Understanding what type of hearing loss you have can help you make more informed decisions about treatment options with your hearing care provider.

What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is the most common form of hearing loss. It is the result of damage to your inner ear or your auditory nerve. SNHL is a permanent hearing loss, and in most cases medicine or surgery will not fix it. Your ability to hear may be improved with the use of hearing aids, or in some cases a cochlear device.

Some of the more common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

Less common causes of SNHL include:

What is Conductive Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss caused by an obstruction or blockage in your ear is referred to as conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss happens when problems with the eardrum, bones, muscles or ligaments in the middle ear prevent sounds from passing through to the inner ear. Blockages in the outer or middle ear slow down the vibrations of incoming sound, which results in hearing loss. In many cases, conductive hearing loss is treatable.

Conductive hearing loss can have a number of causes. Some of the top causes include:

What is Mixed Hearing Loss?

Someone with a mixed hearing loss has a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This can happen if someone has a pre-existing hearing loss, such as age-related hearing loss, and then has an obstruction in their ear.

What are the Differences Between Sensorineural & Conductive Hearing Loss?

The main differences between sensorineural and conductive hearing loss is the cause of the hearing loss, and the treatment options.

Sensorineural hearing loss treatment options may include: 

Conductive hearing loss treatment options may include: 

If you suspect you may have a hearing loss, click here to read our guide on how to recognize the symptoms. If you’re due a hearing assessment or would like to learn more about the different types of hearing loss, please get in touch today. Call Clear Wave Hearing Center today on 507-208-7002 or click here to book your complimentary hearing assessment.

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