What are the Most Common Causes of Hearing Loss?

Lauren Romano
Lauren Romano
Scuba diving can damage the ear's structure and cause hearing loss.
Scuba diving can damage the ear's structure and cause hearing loss.

Hearing loss, even if it's temporary, can be frightening, uncomfortable and inconvenient. Noise, age and infection are just some of the common causes of hearing loss among adults. In some cases, the hearing loss is only temporary, while in others it may be permanent.

One of the main causes of hearing loss is noise. Items that produce loud noises, such as headphones blasting loud music, power tools, shooting guns and motorcycles, can cause damage. It often doesn't happen at once but instead happens due to repeated exposure. One of the ways to prevent this is to stop using the items or wear protective headphones during the activity, whether you're shooting a gun or using loud power tools.

Exposure to firecrackers can cause hearing loss.
Exposure to firecrackers can cause hearing loss.

Another one of the causes of hearing loss is having an earwax blockage in the ear. When the earwax, also known as cerumen, builds up in the ear and hardens, it can be difficult to remove and prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. This is typically a temporary issue that your doctor can easily take care of in one visit.

An ear infection can not only be painful, but can also be one of the causes of hearing loss. Noises may sound muffled due to the infection blocking the sound from traveling to the inner ear. Two infections that may occur are in the middle ear and the ear canal. These can be treated by a doctor. More often than not, ear infections cause only temporary hearing loss.

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in adults.
Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in adults.

Age is one of the causes of hearing loss that, unfortunately, typically cannot be prevented. It happens gradually and can occur in one or both ears. As the nerve cells in the inner ear break down, hearing may start to diminish and eventually becomes permanent, resulting in being unable to hear speech clearly but hearing noises in the ears, such as ringing.

Exposure to loud noises, such as from loud music, can damage hearing over time.
Exposure to loud noises, such as from loud music, can damage hearing over time.

Severe damage, such as head injuries or ear injuries, is one of the causes of hearing loss that often results in permanent hearing loss. It's possible though that this kind of hearing loss can be temporary. In addition to a severe blow to the head, other forms of injury can include experiencing a change in air pressure, such as while scuba diving, or a very loud noise such as a firecracker, both of which can damage the structures of the ear.

Prolonged workplace exposure to loud noises, such as a jackhammer, can impair hearing.
Prolonged workplace exposure to loud noises, such as a jackhammer, can impair hearing.

As soon as a person experiences hearing loss, he or she should see a doctor immediately to get the ears checked. It's also important to note the symptoms that may occur, other than the hearing loss, such as ringing in the ears. Pinpointing whether the hearing loss was gradual or whether it occurred for a specific reason can help the doctor make a diagnosis.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Scuba diving can damage the ear's structure and cause hearing loss.
      By: Rostislav Ageev
      Scuba diving can damage the ear's structure and cause hearing loss.
    • Exposure to firecrackers can cause hearing loss.
      By: Jeffrey Daly
      Exposure to firecrackers can cause hearing loss.
    • Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in adults.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in adults.
    • Exposure to loud noises, such as from loud music, can damage hearing over time.
      By: Mikael Damkier
      Exposure to loud noises, such as from loud music, can damage hearing over time.
    • Prolonged workplace exposure to loud noises, such as a jackhammer, can impair hearing.
      By: Susan Stevenson
      Prolonged workplace exposure to loud noises, such as a jackhammer, can impair hearing.
    • Hearing loss often coincides with getting older.
      By: Brian Jackson
      Hearing loss often coincides with getting older.
    • Hearing loss or impairment may originate in the outer, middle or inner ear.
      By: Ursa Studio
      Hearing loss or impairment may originate in the outer, middle or inner ear.