Close up image of an ear.

Hearing loss: conditions

While there are several different causes of hearing loss, there are two different types: conductive and sensorineural.

Conductive and sensorineural hearing loss

The NHS website explains:

Conductive hearing loss happens when sounds are unable to pass from your outer ear to your inner ear, often because of a blockage such as earwax or glue ear. Conductive hearing loss is usually temporary and can often be treated with medication or minor surgery.

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the sensitive hair cells inside the inner ear or damage to the auditory nerve. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and hearing aids are often required to improve hearing in these cases. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are age and loud noises, but it can also be caused by genetics, infections, Ménière's disease, growths (like those benign tumours associated with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 also known as NF2), meningitis, encephalitis, head injuries, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or other conditions (or even treatments for other medical conditions). Diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease are also associated with hearing loss.


One of the most common conditions associated with hearing loss is tinnitus (which is also linked to Ménière’s disease); it can also be connected to vertigo. While tinnitus is not a disease, it can be brought on by a mental or physical change. Interestingly enough, some cases of tinnitus may not even be related to hearing in the ear or the auditory pathway. For more on tinnitus, visit the What is tinnitus? section of the Hearing Link website. Also, Action on Hearing Loss has released research that investigates the connection between hearing loss, tinnitus and mental health, which is available as a free download.

Jewish hearing loss conditions

Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss (also known as NFNB1) is a genetic disorder associated with hearing loss and Ashkenazi Jews. Usher Syndrome is another condition found mainly amongst Jewish people. Usher Syndrome is the most common condition that affects both hearing and vision. It occurs when people have both hearing loss and an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, or RP. For more information on deafblindness, visit the Multisensory impairment page on Jewish Care Interact.

To learn about other health conditions that mainly have an impact on Jewish people, please visit the Jnetics website.

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