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TYPES OF HEARING LOSS

Conductive Loss
A conductive loss refers to a decrease in sound caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear. Such a loss indicates normal inner ear activity. Possible causes of a conductive loss may be: wax in the ear canal, a perforation in the eardrum, or fluid in the middle ear. This type of loss is usually treatable with either medical or surgical intervention.

Example of a conductive loss audiogram:

Sensorineural Loss
A sensorineural loss refers to a problem located in the inner ear or along the nerve pathway between the inner ear and the brain. This type of loss may be caused by aging, infection or other disease, noise exposure, or it may be related to a genetic disorder. Such a loss is usually permanent and not treatable by medical or surgical intervention.

Example of a sensorineural loss audiogram:

Mixed Loss
A mixed loss refers to a conductive loss and a sensorineural loss occurring at the same time. While the conductive component may be treated, the sensorineural component is permanent.

Example of a mixed loss audiogram:

Degrees of Hearing Loss


Degrees of hearing loss audiogram adapted from J.G. Clark (1981). Uses and abuses of hearing loss classification. ASHA, 23, 493-500.

Hearing Loss Simulations
Click on the following audiograms to hear an example of speech as it may sound to a person with the given configuration of hearing loss.

Full BandwidthHigh Pass, 500 Hz

High Pass, 2000, Hz

Low Pass, 500 Hz

Low Pass, 2000 Hz

Hearing loss samples used by permission and taken from:
"Hair Cells and Hearing Aids"
C.I. Berlin, Ph.D., Editor
(Singular Publishing Group 1995)
Demonstrations played during 1994 Kresge "Hair Cell-a-bration"
Selections: Mead C. Killion.

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