Understanding hearing loss leads to a better understanding of treatment options.

If any part of the outer, middle or inner ear isn’t working correctly, some type of hearing loss may be present. The type and degree of hearing loss is determined though a hearing test conducted by a Hearing Implant Specialist. Only then is it possible to discuss treatment options.

Types of Hearing Loss

Depending on which part of the ear is damaged, hearing loss can be classified by one of four types.

Sensorineural

Sensorineural hearing loss typically occurs as you get older, but some people are born with this type of loss. Most people say they are able to hear, but don’t always understand what people are saying. It’s often confused with nerve deafness when it’s really due to problems with the inner ear. Depending on the amount of hearing loss, hybrid hearing* or a cochlear implant can be very beneficial.

*Hybrid hearing approved only for use with the Hybrid L24 Implant.

Conductive

When hearing loss is due to problems with the outer ear or middle ear. Depending on the amount of hearing loss, it may be treated with medications, surgery, hearing aids or a bone conduction implant.

Mixed

Refers to a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means that there may be damage in both the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear. Depending on the amount of hearing loss, it may be treated with medications, surgery, hearing aids or a bone conduction implant.

Single-sided Deafness

Refers to no hearing or very little hearing in only one ear and normal hearing in the other ear. This type of hearing loss is typically treated with a bone conduction implant.

The Degrees of Hearing Loss

Mild

Able to hear the loud or more intense vowel sounds, but may miss some of the softer consonant sounds. People with a mild hearing loss may have difficulty hearing soft spoken people and young children. Also, they may have to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves on occasion. Hybrid hearing can help amplify low-pitch sounds as well as bring back high-pitch sounds that are missing.*

Moderate

In addition to missing consonant sounds, vowel sounds then become more difficult to hear. People with a moderate hearing loss often comment that without hearing aids they hear, but can't always understand. Hybrid hearing can help amplify low-pitch sounds as well as bring back high-pitch sounds that are missing.*

Moderately Severe

Without hearing aids, speech becomes inaudible. Even with hearing aids, speech may still be difficult to understand and increasing the volume doesn’t always make it clearer. That’s why a cochlear implant might be a better option for adults.

Severe

Without hearing aids, speech is inaudible, but loud sounds like a baby crying or a dog barking are audible. A cochlear implant is often the best option for adults and children.

Profound

Without hearing aids, speech is inaudible, but very loud sounds like a lawn mower or jet airplane are audible. Again, a cochlear implant is often the best option for adults and children.

*Hybrid hearing approved only for use with the Hybrid L24 Implant.