Deafness and hearing loss can range from mild to intense. These can have multiple causes and can occur at any age. Hearing loss can occur as a result of a viral infection, or due to a loss of hearing over time caused by a disease, nerve damage, or injury caused by noise. Some babies are born deaf due to genetic factors. Hearing loss that occurs during birth is called congenital hearing loss while hearing loss that occurs after birth is called acquired hearing loss. Here, we’ll see the three types of hearing loss and their causes.
Conductive hearing loss
This kind of hearing loss happens when there is a problem with the ear drum, ear canal, or middle ear and its tiny bones (the malleus, incus, and stapes). There can be many other causes as well like malformation of the ear canal, outer ear, or of the structures of the middle ear. Hearing loss causes also include fluid in the middle ear due to cold, an ear infection, allergies, poor Eustachian tube function, perforated eardrum or tympanic membrane perforation, benign tumors, and so on. Otosclerosis, a disease that can affect the middle ear, can cause harm to the tiny bones and make it hard for you to hear sounds well. Earwax or a foreign body in your ear can also cause an impact on your ear’s health.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL)
When hearing loss occurs due to problems of the inner ear, it can cause a sensorineural hearing loss or nerve-related hearing loss. This is caused by a virus, head trauma, loud noise, and even aging. It can be a hereditary problem or can be due to Meniere’s disease, malformation of the inner ear, otosclerosis (an autoimmune inner ear disease) and so on. Lastly, when someone is taking severe medications like ototoxic medication to cure diseases like cancer, one of the side effects can be hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss
In many cases, both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss patterns are seen in the ears, and in such a case, doctors call it mixed hearing loss. A head injury or extremely loud music in cases of older people can be counted as a potential cause of this type.