The term used to describes someone with any degree of hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound. There are 36 million people with hearing loss in the United States. The term can encompass both people who are deaf and people who are hard of hearing. Most people with this type of disability use residual hearing and use hearing assistive technology such as hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. A small number who are culturally Deaf use sign language as a primary mode of communication. There are actually three types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss is the mildest type of hearing loss. It happens when there is no sound transfer from the outer ear canal to the eardrum an the ossicles in the middle ear. People with this condition are not able to hear faint sounds, and this condition can be corrected medically. There are various reasons fro this type of hearing loss, such as fluid in the middle ear, ear infection, colds, allergies etc.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is the most common type of hearing loss, and it can’t be medically corrected. It occurs when there is some kind of damage in the inner ear, or damage to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. People with this condition are unable to hear clearly even loud noises. This loss happens due to a genetic condition, using drugs that affect ears, some kind of illness, a head injury etc.
Sometimes a hearing disability can be a combination of these two, and that type is called mixed hearing loss.