About hearing loss: causes and types

What causes hearing loss?

The causes of hearing loss can be different: from infection to exposure to noise, find here an overview on which are the common causes of a change in hearing.

Hearing loss has many different causes and contributing factors. Some of the causes of hearing loss unfortunately we cannot avoid, like age related hearing loss and some that we do have some control over e.g. avoiding excessive exposure to loud noises.  Understanding what causes your hearing to change, can help you in deciding what you do next and whether hearing aids are an option you want to consider.

At Amplifon we are here to help determine which hearing loss you have, how it was caused and what can be done to help.

Sensorineural hearing loss: main causes

This is the most common form of hearing loss and occurs when the tiny hair cells in the inner ear are damaged or when the hearing pathways to the inner ear become damaged.

Sensorineural hearing loss causes can be wide range of conditions but most commonly by the natural ageing process which accounts for around 90% of this type of hearing loss. It affects 1 in 7 adults over the age of 65. Changes in your hearing and hearing damage as you get older are normal. If you’re concerned about your hearing, help and support from your local Amplifon hearing clinic is never too far away. We offer a variety of different hearing aid solutions that can help make hearing the things around just a bit clearer.

Some of the causes are:

  • Age – gradual deterioration in hearing across both ears in high pitched sounds
  • Traumatic exposure to loud noise – This may be from a sudden, very loud sound or repated exposure to high level sound. Hearing loss could be permanent or temporary
  • Head injury – This can cause trauma to the cochlea and nerves in the ear
  • Viral infections of the inner ear and auditory nerve
  • Some drug treatments
  • Family history

When does conductive hearing loss occur?

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem conducting sound waves anywhere along the route through the outer ear, tympanic membrane (eardrum), or middle ear (ossicles). This type of hearing loss may occur in conjunction with sensorineural hearing loss (mixed hearing loss) or alone.

If you're wondering what causes hearing loss of this kind, here are the main causes:

  • Earwax or foreign body in the external auditory canal;
  • Infections or irritations of the outer ear
  • Acute or serous otitis media
  • Ear trauma that translates into a perforated eardrum
  • Scaring of the eardrum

Other hearing loss risk factors

There are other high-frequency hearing loss causes brought on by diseases that affect the sense of balance or hearing. Often they are harmless. But for all ear diseases, the sooner they are recognized and treated, the better the chances of recovery.

Meniere's disease

Meniere's disease is a disease of the inner ear, which usually inflicts hearing damage in only one ear. Symptoms of Ménière's disease are usually sudden vertigo, often with vomiting and auditory noise. In addition, there is a significantly deteriorated hearing. The condition is not consistent but comes in fits. Menière's diagnosis is not so easy for the doctor as Menier's disease causes symptoms that may be associated with other diseases.

Otitis Media with Effusion (OME)

OME is a fluid accumulation in the middle ear, behind the eardrum. The fluid increases the pressure on the ears and can cause pain in the ear, as well as headaches and dizziness. Above all, however, the tympanic effusion leads to a deterioration in hearing. 

Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Benign BPPV, in the vernacular, is a type of dizziness, especially when you change your position. This can be turning your head or turning it over in bed. In contrast to the swindle, which appears without a previous movement, the balance disturbance can be fixed by BPPV. As a rule, the vertigo attacks are very short

Diabetes and hearing loss

People with diabetes (diabetes mellitus) are twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss than other people. People with Type 1 diabetes usually live with the disease since childhood and are well-adjusted. The type 2 diabetes, which usually occurs in old age, often goes unnoticed for a long time. Therefore, it is important to be aware of diabetes symptoms in time and to see the doctor.

Get support and advice

Request a complimentary hearing test

Request now

Test your hearing online

Take the test

Find your nearest clinic

Find a clinic