Three types of hearing impairment exist: conductive, sensorineural (“nerve”), or mixed hearing impairment (which is a combination of both a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss).
Conductive Hearing Loss
This type of loss is due to an outer ear or a middle ear problem. Some of the causes of conductive hearing loss include: ear wax, a hole or perforation of the eardrum, fluid behind the ear drum, a middle ear cyst (cholesteatoma), and otosclerosis.
Sensorineural or “nerve” hearing loss
This type of loss is due to an inner ear or hearing nerve problem. Sensorineural or “nerve” hearing loss is most commonly treated with a hearing aid.
In persons who are severely or profoundly hearing impaired in both ears, a cochlear implant is a possible treatment option. A cochlear implant is an electronic device surgically implanted into the inner ear. It bypasses damaged parts of the inner ear and electronically stimulates the hearing nerve.
For persons with deafness in one ear (single-sided deafness), a BAHA (a semi-implantable hearing device) is a treatment option.
Mixed hearing loss
This type of hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss. Treatment depends of the severity of the conductive and sensorineural portions of the hearing loss.