Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is the result of sound signals not reaching the brain due to a problem in the hearing system. Each type of hearing loss has many different causes. Exposure to loud noise is one of the common causes of hearing loss.

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There are many types of hearing impairment that can occur due to multiple causes, including ear disorders, genetics, and acquired causes like noise and disease. Some hearing loss causes are successfully treated depending on the hearing loss type and some are managed through Hearing aids.

Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss is caused when the ear’s ability to conduct sound into the inner ear is blocked. Sound passes down the ear canal to the eardrum and through the middle ear, where the sound is transmitted across the middle ear by the three bones called the ossicles to the inner ear.

Conductive Hearing Loss Causes

Ear infection

Ear infection or Infection in the ear canal causes blockage in the ear canal by fluid which makes the outer ear unable to conduct sound up to the inner ear to the cochlea.

Perforated eardrum

The perforated(ruptured eardrum) eardrums can cause middle ear infection or hearing loss. Usually, the perforated eardrums heal on its own or might require surgery in severe condition.

Benign tumors

Benign tumors are nothing like a malignant tumor which is cancer. They are not that serious but could be dangerous if they press on any vital structure like a blood vessel. The common type of benign tumors is Adenomas, Fibromas.

Poor Eustachian tube function

The poor eustachian tube cannot ventilate the middle ear space which is the primary function of the Eustachian tube, hence the ear pressure and the unmatched air pressure cause hearing loss.


This is the abnormal growth of the bone in the middle ear which causes hearing loss in adults. This is called as Otosclerosis.

Impacted earwax

Impacted Ear Wax is a huge amount of earwax buildup in the outer ear that can cause hearing loss as the sound will not be able to reach the middle ear up to the brain.

Fluid in the middle ear from colds

Otitis media(middle ear infection) or Swimmer’s ear (Otitis Externa) is caused due to the middle ear draining fluid. It occurs behind the eardrums to the middle ear and is mostly caused by allergies, sore throat, respiratory infection, and a cold.


The allergic skin reaction can cause an itchy ear. It also causes swelling in the outer ear canal and middle ear which causes hearing loss.

Foreign body in the ear

The foreign body can be anything either earwax, fluids, or the insects which damage sensory hair of the ear canal making them unable to conduct sound.


Cholesteatoma is a skin cyst that appears in the middle ear. Patients can be born with it, or it can develop as a result of chronic ear infections.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs from damage to an individual’s inner ear (cochlea) or neural areas of the auditory system. In some cases, the cause cannot be determined. It is generally irreversible and permanent. These hearing losses are very common sensorineural results in a loss of loudness as well as a lack of clarity.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Causes

Exposure to loud noise

Loud noise results as the poison to your ears which destroys the sensory hair of your ear making them unable to listen. Exposure to loud noise above 80 dB can cause hearing loss. So, ear protection is recommended to use while going to loud concerts, ride a bike, during gunshots and bomb blasts.

Autoimmune inner ear disease

Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) is a syndrome of progressive hearing loss and/or dizziness that is caused by antibodies or immune cells. It attacks the inner ear and causes hearing loss. In most cases, the symptoms of tinnitus (ringing, hissing, roaring) is seen which occurs over a few months. Autoimmune inner ear disease is mostly misunderstood as Meniere’s disease but has different causes and symptoms than Autoimmune.

Hearing loss that runs in the family

The sensorineural hearing loss causes due to hereditary problems. If the hearing loss runs in the family than at a specific age you will get suffer from hearing loss.

Aging (presbycusis)

Aging is the most common cause of deafness. One out of three people age 65-74 has some level of hearing loss. Common conditions that can increase the risk of deafness in elderly people are high blood pressure, diabetes, or the use of certain medications harmful to the ear.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease an inner ear disease that causes episodes of vertigo. These episodes can be regular or infrequent according to their occurrence. You might have symptoms of dizziness, nausea, hearing loss, and cold sweat in Meniere’s disease.


Another cause for hearing loss is from tumors such as acoustic neuroma. The tumor-related hearing loss might also include Tinnitus and Diplacusis. You may have a sensation of fullness in one or both ears.

Head trauma

It’s a head injury that causes trauma to the brain or the skull. Head trauma can affect the sensorineural hearing ability and causes hearing loss.


Both Arthritis and vasculitis are commonly associated with hearing loss. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, and others fall into this category.

Blood-related problems

Poor blood circulation to the ear affects your hearing. It can be the cause of hearing loss. Hypercoagulability and polycythemia can be the cause of blood-related hearing loss.

  • People who are suffering from high blood pressure can have hearing loss. High blood pressure affects your hearing.
  • People who suffer from Sickle Cell Disease can have Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
  • People who suffer from AIDS can have a hearing loss problem.

Low birth weight

The child with low birth weight is more likely to suffer from sensorineural hearing loss as the sensory parts may not have been developed properly which causes hearing loss in babies. If the fetus grows slower than normal in the mother’s womb the chances of hearing loss increase.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed Hearing Loss goes literally by its name “mixed” and is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. It indicates that there is damage in the outer, middle, and inner parts of the ear at the same time. Mixed hearing loss generally ranges from mild to profound severity. For people diagnosed with this problem, sounds can be both softer in volume and more difficult to understand.

Mixed Hearing Loss Causes

Genetic Factors

If the hearing loss runs in your family then, the occurrence of hearing loss is due to the genetic factor. it could be either conductive or sensorineural hearing loss as per the genetic factor.

Overexposure To Loud Noise

Overexposure to loud noise can cause high-frequency hearing loss so, it’s better to use hearing protection methods to escape the chances of hearing loss. Ear protection devices or earplugs for concerts are built specially to protect the ear from loud noises over 80 dB.

Head Injuries

As discussed above, the head injuries can damage the brain and any other part of the inner ear which causes hearing loss.

Aging Process

Due to the course of time, some of our body parts degrade its functionality so as our ears. The aging process degrades the ability to listen to and the old age people suffer from hearing loss.

Birth Defects

Birth defects like premature birth, low weight infants possess some of the body parts undeveloped after birth. They have low immunity and easily get immune to diseases. The birth defects can also leave a child with undeveloped ears which causes hearing loss.

Medications For Diseases

Cancer:- Cancer in the head or ear can be the cause of hearing loss. Chemotherapy and Radiation can cause a hearing loss. It is necessary for cancer patients to evaluate the hearing before, during, and after these treatments.

Diabetes:- In many cases people who suffer from diabetes, can have the problem of hearing loss. Diabetes can be the cause of hearing loss.

Thyroid:- Thyroid is another cause of hearing loss. An underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is the common reason behind hearing loss. People who suffer from underactive thyroid also have the problem of hearing loss.

Neural Hearing loss

The least type of hearing loss is Neural hearing loss. It takes place when the auditory nerve is damaged, missing, or transmits information to the brain incorrectly. In order to recognize this type of hearing loss correctly, it needs in-depth testing and might include radiographic imaging. It’s impossible to identify the correct location of neural hearing loss using the current tests, thus frequent hearing monitoring is required for its. Otherwise, it damages the ear permanently.

Neural Hearing Loss Causes


It can be genetic. If hearing loss runs in your family, chances are you will experience hearing loss problems too.

Acoustic Tumors

It is also called a Vestibular Schwannoma. It causes the overproduction of Schwann cells in the body. The basic function of Schwann cells is to help in keeping peripheral nerves insulated but the excessive production of these cells results in tumors that grow slowly but can be the reason for cancer. This mild growing tumor of the nerve connects to the inner ear and can reach up to the brain.

Alcohol or Tobacco

Excessive drinking damages the auditory cortex in the brain, affecting the way your brain processes sound. The high levels of alcohol can create a toxic environment that can damage the delicate hair cells in the cochlea. Even moderate drinkers may risk nerve damage and hearing loss.

Exposure To Certain Infections

Some of the infections also affect your hearing which is given below:

  • Flu:– Flu is another cause of hearing loss because the throat and lungs being in connection with a tube.
  • Lyme Disease:- Lyme disease can cause hearing loss due to the bite of a kick. Side effects of Lyme disease may cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Syphilis:- It can cause hearing loss. If people wait for longer, then it will continue and make you deaf.

Severe jaundice in infancy

Jaundice that is severe enough to require a blood transfusion can result in hearing loss. This is related to the potential damage that high levels of bilirubin can cause the nerves of hearing.

Premature birth

If the baby gets an ear infection often and doesn’t recover through medicines then the cause of hearing loss could be premature birth which persists as a permanent hearing loss.


Depression is a mood disorder. It causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in daily activities. At its worst, it can lead a person to feel that life is not worth living.


Hearing loss is extremely common from bacterial or fungal meningitis. Meningitis attacks the covering of the brain and the spinal cord. Once in recovery, hearing evaluations should be performed.

Causes of Hearing Loss In One Ear

Hearing loss in one ear occurs when you have deafness or you have difficulty hearing that affects only one ear. This situation is also known as unilateral hearing loss.

There are some following causes for sudden hearing loss in one ear –

  • Blockage of the ear
  • Illness
  • Ear Injury
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Tumor
  • Infections

Risk Factor of Hearing Loss And Deafness

Heredity. Your genetic makeup may make you more susceptible to ear damage from sound or deterioration from aging.

Occupational noises. Jobs, where loud noise is a regular part of working environments like construction or factory work, can lead to damage inside your ear.

Recreational noises. Recreational noises such as from firearms and jet engines can cause immediate, permanent hearing loss. Other recreational activities with dangerously high noise levels include snowmobiling, motorcycling, or listening to loud music.

There are many potential causes of hearing loss. Audiologists or hearing healthcare professionals are trained to use many diagnostic tests to find an explanation of your concerns. Once the cause is determined, they can find the best treatment. If you suspect any type of hearing loss, the very first step is to consult a hearing care professional right away. Give us a call on our toll-free +91-9327901950 or you can also visit our HearingSol Clinic in Delhi NCR.

For more info: Risk factors of hearing loss

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