As many as 40 million American adults are believed to have hearing loss, so it is quite a common issue, especially in an aging population. In some cases, it is not known what has caused a particular case of hearing loss, but for the most part, causes of hearing loss are well understood and easy to determine.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss
There is a wide range of issues that can lead to hearing loss, this post covers some of the most common causes. When determining causes of hearing loss, you need to first start with the type of loss that is being experienced. There are three types of hearing loss:
- Conductive hearing loss
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Mixed hearing loss
Each type can have many different causes. Here are some of the various reasons for each type of hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss Causes
- Age-Related or Presbycusis-It is common for gradual hearing loss to happen as you get older. It is permanent and usually makes it harder to hear “high-frequency” sounds.
- Viral infections
- Loud noise exposure-Loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is painless and usually happens over time.
- Acoustic tumors
- Medications that damage hearing-Can include aminoglycoside antibiotics, aspirin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, chemotherapy drugs like Cisplatin
- Heredity-You can inherit hearing loss from your parents.It can be conductive, sensorineural or mixed.
- High fever
- Ménière’s disease- is an inner ear disease that usually starts between 30 and 50 years old. Symptoms include dizziness and ringing in the ear and sensitivity to loud sounds.
Conductive Hearing Loss Causes
The most common occurrences with conductive hearing loss are “obstruction” related that can include:
- Infections of the ear canal or middle ear
- Wax buildup
- Otosclerosis-This is a middle ear disease. It makes it harder for the tiny bones in the middle ear to move. It causes a conductive hearing loss. This condition is often treated with surgery.
- Abnormal growths
- Dislocation of the middle ear bones (ossicles)
- Perforation of the eardrum
- Foreign object in the ear canal
If you believe you may be experiencing hearing loss, it is best to consult with your doctor on treatment options and next steps.