Jefferson University Hospitals

Hearing Loss

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Hearing Test

Hearing disorders make it hard – but not impossible – to hear and can often be managed.

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. One in three adults over the age of 60 has hearing loss. If you or someone you love is experiencing hearing loss, turn to the experts at the Jefferson Health Balance and Hearing Center.

Jefferson Health otolaryngologists (physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ears, nose, throat and head and neck disorders) excel at diagnosing and treating hearing loss, sinus problems, ear infections and more.

Types of Hearing Loss

Your treatment will depend on which type you have. Jefferson Health providers can help diagnose and determine the best care approach specific to your needs. There are three basic types of hearing loss:

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. It happens when there is inner ear damage. When nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain are damaged, soft sounds may be difficult to hear, and loud sounds may be unclear or muffled. Hearing aids may help this permanent type of hearing loss, which may be caused by: 

  • Certain drugs
  • Family history of hearing loss
  • Aging
  • Head injury
  • Problems with how the inner ear is formed
  • Loud noises or explosions


Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss makes it difficult for sounds to get into the inner ear, which means soft sounds become inaudible and loud sounds are muffled. It can be caused by: 

  • Fluid in your middle ear from colds or allergies
  • Ear infections of the middle ear
  • Poor Eustachian tube function
  • A hole in your eardrum
  • Benign tumors
  • Wax in the canal
  • Infection in the ear canal, commonly referred to as swimmer's ear
  • An object in your outer ear
  • Deformed ear canal or issues with the bones in their middle ear
  • Genetics

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss affects the outer or middle ear, and the inner ear. When conductive and sensorineural hearing loss occurs at the same time, this is considered a mixed hearing loss. If you have age-related hearing loss and a middle ear infection, this would be an example of mixed hearing loss.

Hearing Aid Options

Hearing Aid Options

If your physician determines that you have hearing loss and it cannot be treated with medical or surgical intervention, hearing aids may be an option for you. Determining which hearing aid is right for you, however, can be a daunting task.

At the Jefferson Health Balance and Hearing Center, an audiologist will work with you to determine the best hearing aid option for you. There is a full range of options available based on lifestyle, budget and technology. Please call our office at 215-955-6760 if you would like to learn more.