Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss happens for many reasons, impacting how we connect with the world around us. Understanding about hearing loss and its causes can help you treat the problem. Let’s explore what contributes to this condition.

Common Culprits

  • Earwax Blockage: Too much earwax can clog the ear canal, stopping sound in its tracks.
  • Middle Ear Infections: Infections can lead to fluid accumulation and muffling sounds.
  • Otosclerosis: The stiffening of ear bones restricts their movement, affecting sound transmission.
  • Foreign Objects: Items stuck in the ear block sound waves.
  • Eardrum Perforation: Tears in the eardrum hinder sound wave travel.

Age and Noise: Major Factors

  • Age-Related Loss (Presbycusis): Aging naturally wears down cochlear hair cells, dulling hearing.
  • Noise-Induced Loss: Loud environments and activities can permanently damage inner ear cells.

Less Common Causes

  • Ototoxic Medications: Some drugs harm auditory cells or nerves, leading to hearing issues.
  • Meniere’s Disease: This condition brings vertigo, ringing, and hearing challenges.
  • Head Injuries: Trauma can affect cochlear or nerve function, causing hearing loss.
  • Genetic Factors: Genetics may increase susceptibility to hearing problems.

Inner Ear Damage

Often, hearing problems stem from inner ear damage due to aging or noise exposure. This damage affects how sound signals are sent to the brain. High pitches might sound fuzzy, and distinguishing speech from noise becomes tough. Genetics and health issues like cardiovascular diseases can also play a role.

Learning about hearing loss is the first step toward managing it. Recognizing these causes helps in seeking timely intervention, potentially preserving your hearing and quality of life.

Hearing Aids

Types of Hearing Loss

Discover the different types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural loss is the most common type of hearing problem. It occurs when the tiny hair cells of the inner ear are damaged. Even though sound normally gets into the inner ear, the damaged hair cells are unable to “sense” and subsequently send the required signals to the brain. As a result, these damaged hair cells send a distorted message to the brain, making it difficult to hear and understand. Fortunately, this type of loss is effectively treated through the use of hearing aids.

Noise-induced loss is a frequent form of sensorineural loss. Prolonged exposure to loud noise damages the tiny hair cells that transmit sound to the brain for interpretation. This loss is not reversible, but fortunately, it is very preventable through hearing protection and avoidance of dangerous sound levels.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive loss occurs when there is a breakdown in the physical transmission of sound to the brain. This is typically the result of a problem with the outer and/or middle ear.

Mixed Hearing Loss

It is possible for multiple factors to impact your hearing. Mixed hearing loss occurs when both conductive and sensorineural loss are present. The treatment of mixed hearing loss depends on the specific factors responsible for it. We can help you determine the best course of action to treat mixed loss.


While not a type of hearing loss, tinnitus can be a symptom of it. Tinnitus is the perception of ongoing, repetitive ringing in the ear. Some sufferers describe it as whistling, chirping, buzzing, pulsing, or clicking. One or both ears may be affected. In most cases, only the tinnitus sufferer can hear it. But in some cases, it can be external and heard by others as well. Some people live with it, aware of its presence but undeterred by it. For others, the sound they hear can be an ongoing nuisance, which they live with, constantly bothered by but leaving it untreated. For still others, the sounds may be so bothersome that they are debilitating, interfering with work and sleep.

Act Now to Protect Your Hearing

Ignoring the risks of untreated loss can lead to irreversible damage. We are here to guide you through diagnosis and treatment options. Don’t wait for your hearing to worsen. Start your journey to better hearing by contacting American Hearing + Audiology today.

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