A Quick Introduction to Hearing Loss: Types and Degrees

Man raising his hands to his ears signalling that he cant hear properly

Your hearing matters. It empowers you, keeps you safe, and lets you communicate effectively. When you’re being surrounded by delightful sounds such as your favourite song on the radio, a bird singing, or your loved one’s laughter, your life gets more enjoyable and satisfying.

Unfortunately, there are instances where you can experience some form of hearing loss, and this includes failing to hear people very well at normal levels or when there is background noise. Knowing the cause and severity of your case is the first step to treating your hearing impairment.


What Are the Types of Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is quite common, with sufferers experiencing a decreased hearing level due to damaged inner ear nerves and hair cells. The causes behind this type of hearing loss are excessive noise exposure, ageing, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and more.

While its symptoms can be managed, treating sensorineural hearing loss with medicine or surgery can be difficult. The best way to prevent this for as long as possible is to avoid constant exposure to loud noises without protective gear.


Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss takes place when there is an obstruction in the outer or middle ear that causes hearing loss. It usually occurs when there is a buildup of earwax, an accumulation of fluid or pus, a tumour, foreign objects stuck in your ear canal, or abnormal growths.

To restore hearing, you must undergo surgery or take medicines prescribed by our hearing care professionals. You can also prevent this type of hearing loss by booking a hearing test. We will conduct several tests to measure how well you hear a variety of sounds, including tones and speech.


What Are the Degrees of Hearing Loss?

All hearing loss types have four different severities. A mild hearing loss is when you hear some speech sounds but have difficulty hearing softer sounds. Meanwhile, moderate hearing loss involves struggling to understand speech when someone is talking at a normal level.

Severe hearing loss is when you hear only some loud noises and little to no speech at normal levels. Profound hearing loss, on the other hand, is when you only hear very loud sounds or none at all.


Why Can’t I Hear Very Well When There Is Background Noise?

If you are having trouble hearing with background noise, you are experiencing moderate hearing loss. This is a common concern. Since your ears are distracted by the sounds in the background, you may have difficulty at the levels at which you are hearing.

You may also be experiencing high-frequency hearing loss, which refers to having trouble hearing sounds when they are over 2000 Hz, there is background noise, or you are in a large group of people. It can be addressed with hearing aids that offer frequency lowering technology. Consult a hearing care professional to find the correct frequency and loudness for your needs.



Hearing is easy to take for granted, but it is a vital aspect of your life. It needs to be taken care of, and part of this is looking out for signs and symptoms of hearing impairment. When you are experiencing any type of hearing loss, make sure to reach out to professionals right away to discuss the best course of treatment for you.

Fraser Valley Beltone is a hearing aid clinic with locations in Langley and Abbotsford. We offer exceptional hearing care with our hearing tests and hearing aids. Book an appointment today!

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