Inner Ear

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is common.  In New Zealand almost 1 out of 6 people have some form of hearing loss in one or both ears.  It can be present at birth or acquired at any age.


There are two types of hearing loss:

Conductive Loss

When something prevents the sound wave vibrations entering the inner ear it is called a conductive loss – the sound wave conduction is hindered. Generally this type of hearing loss is medically correctable


  • wax occluding the ear canal
  • foreign body occluding the ear canal
  • birth defects such as atresia
  • infections where the debris or swelling blocks the ear canal
  • middle ear infections that block the middle ear
  • perforations in the eardrum
  • disruption of the hearing bones

Sensorineural Loss

When the hearing cells in the cochlea cannot pick up or transmit information to the brain it is called a sensorineural loss. This type of hearing loss is most often permanent. Some causes are listed below:


  • inherited
  • maternal contact with rubella during pregnancy
  • abuse of drugs during pregnancy that has effected the developing baby


  • exposure to loud noise
  • the aging process
  • lack of oxygen supply to a baby
  • jaundice increases the risk of hearing impairment
  • high fever illness
  • head injuries
  • some medications damage the cochlea

Mixed Hearing Loss

This results when there is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss present.


For more information, click the following link: Hearing Association


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