Types of hearing loss

Learn more about the different types of hearing loss, how they can impact you and how they can be treated.

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The best treatment for your hearing loss depends on its type and severity. Hearing aids can help many people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss - improving their general hearing and understanding of speech in most situations. However if you have a conductive hearing loss or a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, even the most advanced and powerful hearing aids may not be enough. When this is the case, an implantable solution may be a good option. If you would like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter about good hearing,click here.

What type of hearing loss do you have?

Conductive hearing loss

This type of loss is caused by a blockage in the outer or middle ear. Hearing aids will have to increase the loudness to force sound through this blockage to the inner ear and this may cause the sound to become distorted and unclear. Baha® bone conduction implants are an established, effective and long-term solution for conductive hearing loss. The Baha System converts sound to vibrations that are sent to the inner ear through the bone, bypassing any blockage in the outer or middle ear. This is a natural way of hearing and much of the sound you hear every day, like your own voice, is heard partly via the same phenomenon. You may get a clearer sound with less distortion compared to a hearing aid, as the Baha System bypasses the blockage in the outer or middle ear.

Sensorineural hearing loss in both ears

Despite being referred to as ‘nerve deafness’, sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or cochlea, not the hearing nerve. Hearing aids make sounds louder, but if you have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss on both ears, the amplified input of hearing aids can sound very distorted. A cochlear implant is an established, effective and long-term solution for profound sensorineural hearing loss. It is an electronic device that is surgically implanted - so it bypasses the damaged inner part of the ear to stimulate the hearing nerve directly. Unlike hearing aids which simply amplify sound, cochlear implants convert sound waves to electrical impulses in a way that mimics your natural hearing.

Sensorineural hearing loss in one ear

If you have profound hearing loss in one ear – also known as single-sided deafness (SSD) - you’re not alone. The condition is reasonably common. You may have been born with it, or it may have been triggered later in life. SSD makes it difficult to understand speech over background noise or localise the direction of footsteps, traffic or a ringing telephone. Cochlear implants or Baha bone conduction implants are established, effective and long-term solutions for single-sided deafness. The Baha System sends sound through bone, from the damaged ear to the working inner ear on the other side.

When should I act?

When considering the solutions that could help you, it’s important to take into account all the options and opportunities. A health professional can talk you through the options and help you make the most informed decision. If you don’t already have someone to speak to, we can help you find a clinic close to you. When considering what to do, the most important thing is to have all the information.

Disclaimer

Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. 

Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.