Hearing Loss Causes

There are several types of hearing loss and numerous causes of hearing loss. Do you experience hearing loss and wonder what caused the condition? Do you have a senior loved one diagnosed with hearing loss, or that you believe has difficulty hearing, and you are not sure what caused the hearing issue?

Learn about the various causes of hearing loss, and the potential implications of each of the various causes.

Age-related Hearing Loss 

Most seniors experience some degree of hearing loss caused by the aging process. Many seniors likely have a friend or family member with some degree of hearing loss attributed to aging. There are as many as one-third to one-half of all seniors with some degree of hearing loss.

If you or a loved one experience symptoms of presbycusis, the name for age-related hearing loss, you likely felt the symptoms occur gradually, over time. Loud sounds become more difficult to tolerate and you have difficulty hearing what other people are saying.

Presbycusis typically affects both ears in a person with the condition. Age-related hearing loss is usually irreversible.

Noise-related Hearing Loss 

Noise related hearing loss generally occurs with regular exposure to loud noises. Some examples include loud music, a loud work environment, noises that you hear when in large crowds such as at sporting events or concerts. There are a variety of other causes of noise-related hearing loss, including power tools, movie theaters, bars or nightclubs, listening to your devices through earbuds, and sirens.

Some noise-related hearing loss occurs because of sudden noises that damage the hearing of seniors and other individuals. People that serve in the military are often exposed to loud noise, such as military equipment, weapons, or explosives. Loud, sudden noises in your everyday environment at home or work also potentially contribute to sudden hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Caused by Injury 

Injuries sometimes cause hearing loss. Some injury-related hearing loss is temporary. If you have temporary hearing loss because of an injury, you possibly regain some or all of your hearing after a period of time. Some people experience hearing loss due to injury and have permanent loss of hearing from the injury.

Examples of injuries that potentially result in hearing loss include damage to the eardrum or other structures of the ear, experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or other types of head injuries.

Hearing Loss Caused by Certain Tumors 

Some people develop hearing loss because of certain types of tumors. An acoustic neuroma, a slow-growing tumor that is usually benign. In spite of the fact that it is usually non-cancerous, there is still a risk of having hearing loss from this type of tumor.

Any tumor that affects the ears, brain, nerves of the head, ear, or brain possibly increases the risk of hearing loss. If you have a tumor and suspect that you are having difficulty hearing, see your hearing specialist and oncologist or another specialist caring for you.

Hearing Loss Caused by Disease 

There are several diseases that potentially cause hearing loss. One such disease is Meniere's Disease. The cause of this disease, which affects the inner ear, is not known.

Some details are known about this disease, including the fact that when diagnosed, most people are between 30 and 50 years of age. The American Speech Language Association also indicates that an individual with this condition possibly experiences sensorineural hearing loss.

While the symptoms, such as ringing in the ears, dizziness, and sensitivity to loud sounds come and go, over time they become permanent aspects of the disease.

There are several diseases, including some autoimmune conditions that cause hearing loss. The type of hearing loss, and the symptoms vary, depending on the specific autoimmune disease that you or your loved one has that affects your hearing.

Hearing Loss Caused by Illness 

When you get sick, you likely do not consider the possibility of hearing loss because of your illness.

When you, or your senior loved one, develops an infection, a medical condition that causes swelling or pressure, or certain bacteria and viruses, there is a possibility of experiencing hearing loss. If you have diabetes, or hypertension (High blood pressure) you are at risk for hearing loss.

Sudden Hearing Loss 

Sudden hearing loss occurs when you or your family member experience the effects of a sudden loud noise, such as an explosion, a crash, an environmental event, loud noises such as fireworks or sirens.

The hearing loss occurs suddenly or within a few days. This type of hearing loss sometimes gets better, with the possibility of regaining full hearing. There is also the possibility that the hearing loss becomes permanent.

Earwax Buildup 

Most seniors likely do not consider the possibility of earwax causing hearing loss. The fact is that a buildup of wax in one or both ears potentially becomes a serious condition.

Impacted earwax, which builds up over time and becomes difficult or impossible to remove without assistance from a hearing professional, blocks hearing, and results in other possible symptoms.


Some people do not consider the possibility of developing hearing loss if one or more family members has hearing loss. When hearing loss runs in your family, you may have hearing loss.

Discuss your risk of hereditary hearing loss with your hearing specialist.

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