Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not being transmitted properly due to a disorder in the outer or middle ear. In many cases, conductive hearing loss can be medically treated. Some examples include excessive earwax blocking the ear canal, deformity of the outer ear or ear canal, and infections and fluid in the middle ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss affects the cochlea, the organ of hearing within the inner ear, or the nerves beyond the inner ear. Most sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, cannot be medically treated, and can result in difficulty distinguishing sounds and understanding speech. There are many causes of sensorineural hearing loss including the aging process, genetics, prolonged exposure to loud noise, and certain medications.
A mixed hearing loss is a combination of a sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It results from problems in both the inner and outer or middle ear. Treatment options may include medication, surgery, hearing aids, a middle ear hearing implant or a bone conduction implant.
A problem that results from the absence of or damage to the auditory nerve can cause a neural hearing loss. Neural hearing loss is usually profound and permanent.
Hearing aids and cochlear implants cannot help because the nerve is not able to pass on sound information to the brain.
In many cases, an Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) may be a therapeutic option.
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