There are different types of hearing loss, depending on which part of the hearing pathway is affected. A specialist will always try to localize where in the hearing pathway the problem lays, so as to be able to classify the hearing loss as belonging to one of the following groups.
This is most important in determining the appropriate treatment
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer earcanal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds. Modern techniques make it possible to cure or at least improve the vast majority of cases involving problems with the outer or middle ear. Even if people with conductive hearing loss are not improved medically or surgically, they stand to benefit greatly from a hearing aid, because what they need most is amplification.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected but stand to benefit greatly from a hearing aid. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.
Mixed Hearing loss
Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss(SNHL). In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear(cochlea) or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed hearing loss.