Hearing disorders can occur in all parts of the ear and are labelled according to their site of origin:

Middle ear hearing loss

Middle ear hearing loss (also referred to as conductive hearing loss) is caused by a defect of the eardrum, or by inflammation or (accident-induced) impairment of the ossicles.

Inner ear hearing loss

Inner ear hearing loss (also referred to as sensorineural hearing loss) is the result of a loss of functional hair cells induced by noise or other causes, resulting in insufficient stimulation of the auditory nerve.

Combined hearing loss

Combined hearing loss occurs when the middle ear AND the inner ear are functionally impaired.


Deafness can be caused either by inner ear or by auditory nerve impairment.