Hearing Loss Causes

Causes and risk factors 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.

Types of hearing loss and their causes

Sensorineural hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the nerves that connect your inner ear to your brain. It is also the most common type of permanent hearing loss. Causes of sensorineural hearing loss causes can include:

  • Aging
  • Exposure to excessive or loud noise
  • Medications that are toxic to your hearing
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Acoustic tumors

Conductive hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot pass through the outer ear or middle ear to the inner ear. Many times, this is caused by some form of blockage, including:

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

Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Causes of a mixed loss include anything that could cause either of those types of hearing loss. 

Hearing loss risk factors

While several things 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
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