5 Types Of Hearing Disorder: Symptoms And Causes

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5 Types Of Hearing Disorder: Symptoms And Causes

Hearing is one of the most important senses of the body. It performs vital functions which we do not even give much attention to. However there are problems associated with hearing that could be very serious and cause permanent damage to ears. In children especially, these disorders are more common as they are more prone to infections, physical damage and pitch response. In order to know about hearing disorders, we will be looking into 5 types of hearing problems which are mostly faced by people. It is important to know that even slight hearing disorders can cause speech and language difficulties. 

What is Hearing Disorder?

We spoke to expert Dr. Ishan Gulati, ENT Specialist in Max Super Speciality Hospital, Bangalore to tell us about different types of hearing disorders. Hearing disorders are issues with ability to hear at certain pitches or inability to listen to sound. This happens when the sound is unable to reach the nerves that give signal to the brain. 


He told that hearing disorders depends on the area of dysfunction that results to hearing problems. It is majorly of 3 types but can also be sub divided into 5 categories. Intensity of hearing loss also depends on the specific pitch and condition of ear drum, etc. Speech abnormalities and language problems can be common in children if they have any type of hearing disorders. 

Types of Hearing Disorders

1. Conductive Hearing Loss

This is a problem in the outer or middle ear that does not allow sound to travel inside the ear. Conductive hearing loss occurs usually when there is temporary damage or blockage in the outer or middle section of ear which prevents sound to affect ear drums. People suffering with this disorder may not be able to hear soft sounds; hence they need to clean their ears or visit a ear specialist.


Conductive hearing loss can also occur because of presence of wax in ears that blocks the ear canal. In other conditions, this type of hearing loss is present from birth because of irregularity of bones in the middle ear. Sometimes it gets resolved as the person grows or surgery is required to improve bone irregularity.


  • Wax impaction from the ears
  • Having condition of swimmer’s ear
  • Obstruction from foreign bodies in the ear
  • Thickening of tympanic membrane
  • Pain in one or both ears
  • Difficulty in having telephonic conversations
  • Foul odour coming from ear canal

2. Sensorineural Hearing loss

This condition is caused because of damage in the inner ear or hair cells of the inner ear. In this condition patients are able to hear louder sounds but not soft sounds. Sensorineural hearing loss can be congenital which means it may be present from birth or acquired over the period of time. Hearing aids can solve this issue very effectively and mostly there is no major need of surgery or treatment. 



  • Difficulty in following a conversation
  • Problem in listening in loud surroundings
  • Difficulty in hearing soft pitch sounds
  • Noises may occur too loud or too low
  • Speech of other may feel mumbled
  • Feeling or disbalanced or dizzy at times


It happens mostly to older people and symptoms start to occur after the age of 50 years. Exposure to loud noises increases and there is a tendency of having other health problems as well. Sometime some infections, heart diseases or diabetes, etc could also be a possible cause of Sensorineural hearing loss. 

Also Read- Speech Delay In Children: Know Causes, Symptoms and Tips to Overcome From Doctor

3. Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is the combination of conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. It can happen because of either of the conditions and causes and can affect your ears adversely. In majority of conditions it happens in the middle or inner ear, it can also occur because of physical damage, health condition or blockage in the ear canal. People suffering from mixed hearing loss can have the tendency to get disbalanced or dizzy at times. 


It usually occurs to people because of some impact or trauma on the ear canal. Mixed hearing loss can also occur gradually in older age and might become a temporary problem if not treated. There is no dedicated cause for this type of hearing loss and can happen to anyone at any point of impact on the ears.


Symptoms can also be of either conductive hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss. To name some common symptoms, they are-

  • Dizziness
  • Hearing less or very loud sounds
  • Pain in one or both ears
  • Difficulty in understanding speech or language


4. Auditory Neuropathy spectrum Disorder

This is a less common type of hearing disorder which affects the auditory nerve of the person. Because of this disorder the signals are unable to reach to the brain and as a result, it leads the person to have defective speech or dialect. The patients of auditory neuropathy spectrum hear distorted sound that makes it difficult to understand what they say. It can usually be treated if it is diagnosed in the early stage of childhood. If this auditory neuropathy continues to grow, then there are lesser chances that it could be treated totally, not without surgical methods.

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5. Central Auditory Processing Disorder

This type of hearing disorder occurs in children. They have normal hearing ability, but are unable to process the information or sound in form of signals. Hence they need exterior help to make help understand what is being said. Also in number of situations, children have trouble remembering information that they have heard earlier. Children also face issues while listening if there is another background sound coming to their ears. Central Auditory processing disorder disrupts child’s development and makes hard for them to tackle various situations in life.

Picture Credits- pixabay.com, shutterstock.com

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