Hearing Screening Online Training Program

Types of Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is described as either conductive or sensorineural, and depending upon the location of the loss, can be located in the external, middle, or inner ear. [Resources on the Anatomy and Physiology of the Auditory System/Ear Diseases]

A conductive hearing loss exists when there is a problem in the external and/or middle ear and sound is not properly conducted to the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss can usually be treated medically or surgically; hearing aids or other amplifying systems can also help. A sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve caused by genetics or damage to neurosensory elements. Sensorineural hearing loss usually cannot be cured medically, but the use of hearing aids or other amplifying systems can help children hear and develop speech and language. Cochlear implants are also an option if the hearing loss is significant. Mixed hearing loss involves the external or middle ear and the inner ear or the brain.

[Information on the Types of Hearing Loss]

Hearing loss is one of the most common birth defects. In the United States:

  • Approximately 1 to 2 of every 1000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing [1]
  • It is estimated that 200 Minnesota babies, or 4 per week, are born each year with hearing loss [2]
  • One out of 1000 children have severe to profound bilateral (in both ears) sensorineural hearing loss [3]
  • Six out of 1000 children have mild to moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss [3]
  • Two out of 1000 children have unilateral (in one ear) sensorineural hearing loss [3]
  • At least 3 out of 1000 children have either conductive hearing loss or hearing loss associated with otitis media [3]

Note: You must answer the following question to continue with the course.

QUESTION: Can you guess some common causes of infant and childhood hearing loss in developed countries? (Check all that apply)
Genetic Factors
Environmental Infections or Toxins
Unknown Causes
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss


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