What Are the Different Kinds of Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is classified according to the area of the hearing pathway that is not functioning typically. Each type of hearing loss can be something the child is born with, something that develops over time or something that occurs suddenly. The four types of hearing loss are:

  • Conductive hearing loss (CHL) which comes from a problem in the outer or middle ear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) which results from a problem with the inner ear and the nerve that carries the messages from the middle ear to the brain (so called “neural” hearing impairment).
  • Mixed hearing loss which is a combination of conductive and sensorineural problems.
  • Central hearing loss which results from abnormal development or injury to the brain pathways process the sound information brought to it by the auditory nerve. Central hearing loss is rare in infants and children.

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American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Type, Degree, and Configuration of Hearing Loss