Ears are complex organs composed of three sets of structures: the outer, middle and inner ear.

Types of Hearing Loss

  • Conductive hearing losses are due to problems in the outer and/or middle ear.  The outer ear is the part you can see and touch with your hand.  The middle ear is the eardrum, the three little bones in the space behind the eardrum, and the eustachian tube that opens in the back of your throat.  Conductive hearing losses are often temporary and can usually be treated successfully with medication or surgery.
     
  • Sensorineural hearing losses are due to problems affecting the nerves used for hearing.  Sensorineural hearing losses are less easily treated through surgery or medication and are often permanent.

    Sensory hearing losses are due to problems in the cochlea, which is a snail shaped organ in the inner ear.

    Neural hearing losses are due to problems along the auditory nerve somewhere between the ear and brain (the auditory brainstem pathway) or in the brain’s temporal lobe. 

     
  • Mixed hearing losses are due to a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing problems.