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Causes Of Hearing Loss

By Abby Al-Shamsi
How Do We Hear?
• Better understanding of hearing and hearing loss begins by
understanding how we hear.
• Sound waves are collected by the outer ear and channeled
along the ear canal to the eardrum. When sound hits the
eardrum, the impact creates vibrations that cause three bones
in the middle ear to move. The smallest of these bones, the
stapes, fits into the oval window between the middle and
inner ear. When the oval window vibrates, fluid in the inner
ear transmits the vibrations into the hearing organ, called the
• In the inner ear, thousands of microscopic hair cells are bent
by the wavelike action of fluid inside the cochlea. The bending
of these hairs sets off nerve impulses that are then passed
through the auditory nerve to the hearing center of the brain.
This center translates the impulses into sounds the brain can
Diagram of the ear
• Outer Ear
• Inner Ear
• Ear Drum
• Middle Ear
– Stapes, Malleus, and Incus
• Ear canal
• Cochlea
Sensory Hearing Loss

•This type of hearing loss is

usually not medically or
surgically treatable. Most
people with a sensory
hearing loss find that hearing
aids are beneficial.
Causes of Sensory Hearing Loss
• Sensory hearing loss: occurs
when the inner ear is damaged.
The most common causes are
aging, inner-ear infection and
noise exposure.
Neural Hearing Loss
• Aging can cause degeneration of
the hearing nerves. Hearing aids
may help. Another cause is a
tumor that presses on the hearing
Causes of Neural Hearing Loss
• Neural hearing loss: occurs when
there is damage to the hearing nerve
or the nervous system. The inner ear
generates neural impulses that travel
through the hearing nerve to the
Conductive Hearing Loss
• Occurs when the outer or middle
ear fails to work properly. Sounds
become "blocked" and are not
carried to the inner ear.
Conductive hearing losses are
often treatable with medicine or
Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
• Conductive Hearing Loss: Common causes are fluid behind the
eardrum or wax buildup in the ear canal. Conductive hearing loss also
can occur when the eardrum or bones of the middle ear are disrupted.
Normally, when fluid builds up, it drains through the eustachian tube,
which opens to the throat. The eustachian tube is normally opened by
swallowing, yawning and chewing. An inflammation of the tube may
keep it closed, causing fluid to build up in the middle ear. This is often
the result of an upper respiratory infection and can usually can be
• -10dB to 25dB = Normal range (Grey)
• 26dB to 40 dB = Mild hearing loss (purple)
• 41 dB to 55 dB = Moderate hearing loss (red)
• 56 dB to 70 dB = Moderately Severe hearing loss
• 71 dB to 90 dB = Severe hearing loss (yellow)
• over 90 dB = Profound hearing loss. (blue)