Conductive Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is considered conductive when there is a problem with sound passing through the outer or middle ear systems, such as the ear canal, the eardrum and/or the three bones connected to the eardrum. Common reasons for this type of hearing loss are a plug of excess wax in the ear canal, fluid behind the eardrum, holes in the eardrum, and conditions such as Otosclerosis. Medical treatment or surgery may be available for this type of hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is sensorineural when it results from damage to the inner ear, including the cochlea (our organ of hearing) or auditory nerve, often as a result of the aging process or significant noise exposure. Sounds may be unclear and/or too soft. Sensitivity to loud sounds may also occur. Medical or surgical intervention cannot correct most sensorineural hearing losses. However, hearing aids may help you reclaim some sounds that you are missing.

Mixed Hearing Loss

A hearing loss that is considered mixed in nature has both components of a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. In this case, there may be a potentially temporary hearing loss caused by the outer or middle ear, in addition to a more permanent hearing loss due to inner ear damage.

Some conditions related to hearing that we see and treat often in our patients include:


Tinnitus is the perception of a noise, such as ringing, buzzing, hissing, etc., in one or both ears, without an actual external source being present. While there is no absolute cure for tinnitus, there are various treatment methods that can help reduce the severity of it and/or your perception of it. See the “Tinnitus” tab for more information.

Associates of Otolaryngology

AOO Team Bio

Associates of Otolaryngology is a practice that has been serving the Denver area for over 40 years. This group of board-certified physicians has exceptional experience treating multi-generational families and meeting their needs in ENT services, sleep health, sinus and allergy treatment, hearing treatment, and facial plastic surgery. Our team includes ENT physicians, specialty-trained nurses, audiologists, and plastic surgeons. In addition to outstanding routine care, our team is available 24/7 for emergencies

Meet Our Providers


Otosclerosis is a condition where there is abnormal bone growth within the ear, causing the bones in the middle ear to be fixed and not vibrate and move properly

Eustachian tube dysfunction

Failure of the valve in the tube that equalizes pressure in the ear to not open/close properly, causing a buildup of negative pressure in the middle ear space

Otitis Media

Inflammation of the middle ear characterized by the accumulation of infected fluid in the middle ear space, bulging of the eardrum, pain in the ear and, if eardrum is perforated, drainage into the ear canal

Otitis Externa

Infection of the outer ear canal that leads to the ear drum, usually due to bacteria, fungus, and is often referred to as ‘swimmer’s ear’

Meniere’s Disease

A disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you’re spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. It is characterized by endolymphatic hydrops, which refers to increased hydraulic pressure within the inner ear system


Also known as age-related hearing loss, it is the cumulative effect of aging on hearing

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Hearing loss caused by excessive exposure to damaging noise levels. This causes permanent and irreversible damage to the inner ear


A condition caused by hyalinization and subsequent calcification of subepithelial connective tissue of the eardrum. In other words, a hardening or thickening of portions of the ear drum, which can prohibit sound from passing through properly


An abnormal skin growth that develops typically in the middle ear space behind the eardrum

Hearing Loss and Dementia

There is a strong correlation between untreated hearing loss and dementia. Adults with untreated mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, which increases to 5 times as likely for people with severe hearing loss. People over the age of 75 have a 30-40% faster decline in cognitive abilities compared to peers without hearing loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age is hearing loss normal?

There are two different types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss is never normal, and is a sign of an issue with obstruction or damage of the ear canal, eardrum, bones of the middle ear, or Eustachian tube. Sensorineural hearing loss is expected as we age, but affects people at different ages depending on their genetic predisposition and lifelong exposure to noise.

Can low frequency sound damage hearing?

Yes - all frequencies of sound can cause damage to your hearing.

Can a hearing aid damage your hearing?

Over-the-counter, mail-in hearing aids, or hearing amplifiers can damage your hearing as they turn up all frequencies of sound and not just the specific frequencies that you have hearing loss at. Hearing aids bought through a reputable audiology (AudD degree) with routine follow-up will not damage your hearing when used properly. These type of hearing aids are individualized for your specific hearing loss, and in fact, they help preserve the clarity of noise.

Does hearing loss affect memory?

Absolutely- if you are not getting adequate hearing stimulation, the discrimination or clarity of noise is negatively impacted. This is a sign that your brain is not getting adequate stimulation and does contribute to memory loss.

How can I improve hearing loss naturally?

Protect your hearing! Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noises.

How do you check for hearing loss?

Best case, make an appointment with an ENT physician, who can order a hearing test and council you appropriately.

How do you protect your hearing as you age?

Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noises. And, wear hearing aids to get the brain stimulation needed to preserve the clarity of noise and help prevent memory loss.


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