What causes hearing loss? Though the culprits are varied and vast, any continuous issues with hearing should be addressed by your doctor. Addressing the problem first starts with determining the type of hearing loss. So what are the most common causes?

The 6 Most Common Causes of Hearing Loss:

 

  1. Age – Often called “presbycusis,” this type of hearing loss generally hits those over the age of 65. One in three Americans ages 65 to 74 experiences hearing loss, with the odds turning to one in two for Americans over 75 years old. This type of hearing loss affects both ears equally and happens gradually over time, allowing it to sneak up on you. Generally women lose lower frequency sounds first, while men lose higher frequency sounds.
  2. Loud Noises – Whether a rock show or a fireworks display, loud sounds for prolonged periods of time can permanently cause damage to your hearing. What causes hearing loss in this instance is the destruction of the tiny hairs in your ears – hairs that cannot be regrown! You may notice ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, which can last for several hours after the noise exposure.
  3. Injury – Any time your head or ears are hit, there is a chance of permanent hearing loss. The three small bones within the ear may be shifted as a result of a blow, causing sounds to not be properly sent to the inner ear. A solid hit to the head may also rupture the eardrum or cause permanent nerve damage within the cochlea.
  4. Ear Infection – Known as “otitis media,” the cause of hearing loss is the inflammation of the middle ear. This type more commonly affects children than adults and can cause extreme pain for the unfortunate victim. Hearing loss may be accompanied by an earache and must be immediately addressed by a doctor. Without treatment, the hearing loss can become permanent.
  5. Birth Defect – Also affecting children’s hearing is congenital hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is either genetic or non-genetic. Genetic factors make up about 50 percent of all hearing loss and can be either autosomal recessive or autosomal dominant. In the first instance, both parents carry the gene for hearing loss, but neither parent experiences hearing loss. In autosomal dominant cases, one parent experiences hearing loss while the other does not, though the former is much more common and accounts for 70 percent of genetic hearing loss. Non-genetic factors on the other hand include premature birth, maternal diabetes, lack or oxygen, or low birth weight. Some examples of genetic syndromes with hearing loss associated include Down syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, and Waardenburg syndrome.
  6. Ototoxic Drugs – Some drugs used in chemotherapy and radiation as well as few antibiotics can cause hearing loss because of ototoxic reactions. There are close to 200 drugs on the market that fall into this category which cause tinnitus and balance problems. While many of these issues resolve with the discontinuation of the medication, some damage can be permanent. As always, a physician’s advise should be heeded.

 

Be sure to consult your doctor to determine what causes hearing loss for you so it can be properly treated!

 

By: Diana Michel


8 responses to “What Causes Hearing Loss?

  1. Hello, yesterday I was pushed into my desk’s corner. My ear was bleeding, and if I touched any part of my ear it hurt. I’m so relieved that I didn’t hear ringing. It is now the next day and my ear feels clogged and slightly sore. Should I get any medications for it, or just do nothing and see if it heals?

    1. Hi Stacey, we are so sorry to hear about the issues you are having with your ear. The best thing to do is to seek medical attention from a doctor as soon as possible. They will be the best ones to advise you on next steps. We hope you are feeling better soon.

  2. I am not sure whether my grandmother had hearing loss due to her age or if she really has a disease. I’m worried that this would be permanent, which is why we’d like to consider doing a screening to a clinic. Thanks for the information on the six possible causes of hearing loss. According to your piece, one in three Americans ages 65 to 74 experiences hearing loss. Since my grandma is 70 years old, I think she’s starting to experience this.

  3. Hi I got hit on one side of my ear. I heard a ring sound soon after the impact but now it feels clogged. I seem to clear it slowly when I move my ear a bit or try to blow my nose with it shut or lay down but it always come back to the clogged feeling within seconds especially when I’m standing up. It’s really bothering me because I can’t hear the Small sounds. Please help.

  4. I got hit I’m th face then the side of my head and had a ringing noise when I scratch my head on that side that got hit it’s loud and hurts my ears. And when I speak it doesn’t sound right. Did I lose hearing? And how can I get it back to be normal sound again?

  5. I got hit in my ear direct with a soccer ball , I hear a slight ringing when it’s dead quiet, and I get a echo sound though the next ear with certain noises, but I hear well. Do I think it’s serious

  6. i got beaten and i lost my hearing partially ,will i get it back?

    1. So sorry to hear this. We recommend seeing a specialist in your case who will do a thorough ear exam like an audiologist or ENT.

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