Types of Hearing Loss

Sometimes our hearing doesn't work the way it should. Hearing loss can affect one ear or both ears and can have many different causes.

There are four main types of hearing loss, and usually each type is treatable.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss happens when sound can’t reach the inner ear. This could be due to damage in the middle ear, or obstructions in the outer or middle ear like ear wax, fluid, infections, or tumors. Birth defects like atresia and microtia can also cause conductive hearing loss.

There are several options to help treat conductive hearing loss, including middle ear implants, bone conduction implants, and bone-anchored hearing aids. There are also non-surgical options like bone conduction hearing aids.

Solutions for Conductive Hearing Loss

Middle Ear Implant System


Bone Conduction Implant System


Bone Conduction System

ADHEAR Explained

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

When the hair cells of the cochlea are missing or damaged, this is known as sensorineural hearing loss. This can be caused by genetics, or it can be a result of head trauma, exposure to loud noise, or something else in the environment. Sensorineural hearing loss is also a common part of the aging process.

Sensorineural hearing loss has different treatment options depending on its severity, including cochlear implants, middle ear implants, and electric acoustic stimulation.

Solutions for Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Cochlear Implant System

Cochlear Implants Explained

Electric Acoustic Stimulation

More About EAS

Middle Ear Implant System


Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It results from problems in both the inner and the outer or middle ear.

Options for treating mixed hearing loss include middle ear implants and bone conduction implants.

Solutions for Mixed Hearing Loss

Middle Ear Implant System


Bone Conduction Implant System


Neural Hearing Loss

Neural Hearing Loss

When the auditory nerve is damaged or missing, this is known as neural hearing loss. Hearing aids and cochlear implants cannot help because the nerve is not able to pass on sound information to the brain.

In many cases, an Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) is an option for neural hearing loss.


Solutions for Neural Hearing Loss

Auditory Brainstem Implant System

Contact Your MED-EL Representative

How Hearing Works

Hearing Loss In-Depth

Learn more about different types of hearing and hearing loss with our in-depth guides. With topics like single-sided deafness, hearing loss in children, and bimodal hearing, you’ll get a deeper understanding of hearing loss solutions for you or your loved ones.

Cochlear Implants and Hearing Aids

Discover Bimodal Hearing 

Hearing Loss in Children

Find Out More 

Hearing Loss in One Ear

Single-Sided Deafness Explained 

Understanding Conductive Hearing Loss

Discover More 

Contact MED-EL

Here With You

At MED-EL, we’ve been connecting families with life-changing hearing implants for more than 30 years so we understand that hearing loss can be difficult for you and your whole family. That’s why we’ve always been driven by one thing: A passion to help people with hearing loss.

It’s been that way since 1977, when our CEO, Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair, pioneered the modern cochlear implant along with her husband Erwin. Today we’ve grown to more than 2,700 employees covering 135 countries, but we’re still guided by the steadfast principles of our founders.

Our dedicated support network and local care specialists ensure our recipients are always well cared for. And when we create new technology, we make sure it’s compatible with earlier implants so that everyone can benefit. With MED-EL, our recipients know they can always count on us for a lifetime of better hearing.

When you’re ready to take the next step, we’ll be here with you every step of the way.

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