Causes of Hearing Loss

What are the main causes of hearing loss?

There are several different types of hearing loss, and each can have different causes. Take a look at some of the most common causes as well as risk factors of hearing loss.

Dr. Hilary Steele

Dr. Hilary Steele, Au.D.

Audiologist, Director of Professional Development

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Sensorineural hearing loss causes

Sensorineural is most commonly related to age. About one-third of people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 75 have some degree of hearing loss. For those older than 75, that number jumps to about 50 percent. This type of hearing loss does have other potential causes, however. Causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Aging
  • Exposure to excessive or loud noise
  • Ototoxic medications
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Acoustic tumors

Conductive hearing loss causes

Causes of conductive hearing loss are often some type of obstruction. They can include:

  • Ear wax buildup
  • Foreign object in the ear canal
  • Infections in the ear canal or middle ear
  • Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
  • Abnormal tumors or growths

Hearing loss risk factors

While there are several things that can directly cause hearing loss, there are also many risk factors. These are conditions or factors that can make hearing loss more likely. They include:

  • Heredity
  • Diabetes
  • Meniere's disease
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
Elderly man with ITE hearing aid talking with friends

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