Mixed Hearing Loss

Part 4 in a series of articles from Maryville University.
Original Article Here: https://online.maryville.edu/blog/hearing-loss-types/#3-types-hearing-loss

Illustration credit Hough Ear Institute & Healthy Hearing

Mixed hearing loss occurs due to a combination of conductive damage in the outer or middle ear and sensorineural damage in the inner ear. The condition is the result of the sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss types happening simultaneously.

What is mixed hearing loss?

With mixed hearing loss, individuals experience difficulty conducting sound to the inner ear and brain and also have damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association gives the following example of mixed hearing loss: An individual experiencing hearing loss because of loud noises (SNHL) as well as hearing loss due to fluid in the middle ear (conductive hearing loss) would have mixed hearing loss.

Causes of mixed hearing loss

Anything that can lead to sensorineural hearing loss or conductive hearing loss can cause mixed hearing loss. The following is an overview of potential SNHL causes:

  • Illness
  • Medication
  • Genetic issues
  • Head trauma
  • Inner ear malformation

The following summarizes some causes of conductive hearing loss:

  • Earwax buildup
  • Fluids in the middle ear
  • Ear infections
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Outer or middle ear deformity

Long-term ear infections can cause both sensorineural and conductive damage, because they can harm both the eardrum and the ossicles.

Symptoms of mixed hearing loss

The symptoms of mixed hearing loss mirror those of sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. Individuals experiencing mixed hearing loss may have difficulty hearing sounds, and those sounds also may be muffled.

If you think you or someone you love may have a hearing loss, call us today to schedule a free hearing test!
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