Conductive hearing loss is caused by the interference or inability of sound to travel along the pathway from the outer to the middle or inner ear. This can include problems along the ear canal, ear drum, and the small internal bones.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear:
The cochlea—the major organ in the ear responsible for hearing
The 8th cranial nerve—the major nerve pathway and/or area of the brain responsible for hearing
Hearing loss can be the result of genetics, aging, infection, blockage, disease, or injury such as loud noise or head trauma. In many cases, the cause of sensorineural hearing loss is unknown.
Hearing loss is more common in older adults. Factors that may increase your chance of hearing loss include:
Cochlear implants. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/cochlear-implants. Updated March 6, 2017. Accessed September 25, 2017.
Hearing loss prevention. Better Hearing Institute website. Available at: http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/hearing-loss-prevention. Accessed September 25, 2017.
Living with hearing loss. Hearing Loss Association of America website. Available at: http://www.hearingloss.org/content/living-hearing-loss. Accessed September 25, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Last Updated: 9/25/2017
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