There are four types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, mixed, and central.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs due to loss of sound sensitivity resulting from abnormalities of the middle and/or outer ear. The auditory nerve still functions normally; the sound is just unable to reach the inner ear. This type of loss is common in children with ear infections. Once the infection is cleared up, the hearing is restored. This type of loss can usually be treated with simple surgery or medication.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The most common type of hearing loss can result from abnormalities of the inner ear and/or nerve paths to the brain. Both the auditory cells and auditory nerve are permanently damaged. This is the type of hearing loss often referred to as nerve loss. While there are many causes of sensorineural hearing loss, it is most commonly caused by repetitive exposure to high-intensity noise or by the natural aging process. This type of loss can usually be helped with the use of hearing instruments.
Mixed Hearing Loss
This type of loss has symptoms of both conductive and sensorineural hearing losses.
Central Hearing Loss
This type of loss results from disorders in the neuropath ways leading from the ear to the brain. Strokes and central nerve diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, are often the causes of central hearing loss.