There are a number of different causes of hearing loss but in general all of these causes can be split into two different groups – conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss .
Conductive Hearing Loss Causes
Conductive hearing losses are the result of various physical problems affecting the normal movement of sound waves through the ear.
External Ear Canal Obstruction – This is the most common cause of hearing loss and also usually the most easily and effectively treated. The obstruction may be a buildup of cerumen – more commonly known as ear wax, a hematoma caused by a blow to the ear or a foreign object lodged in the ear (quite common in younger children.) Once the obstruction has been removed in most cases normal hearing levels are restored.
Perforated tympanic membrane (Perforated Ear Drum) – If the eardrum is perforated pain and some degree of hearing loss usually occurs. This perforation is often the result of the over zealous use of Q Tips to clean the ears, of an ear infection or an ear drum can be perforated if a person is standing near a very sudden, very loud noise such as an explosion.
Damage to Ear Bones – The human ear contains a number of very small bones called ossicle and they play a crucial part in the hearing process. Damage to these bones, either as a result of a trauma like a blow to the head or an untreated ear infection can cause hearing loss.
Otis Media – Otis Media is the medical term for a middle ear infection. This is very common in children and such an infection can cause hearing loss.
Otis Externa – An ear infection that causes the entire ear canal to swell abnormally. Again varying degrees of hearing loss can occur as a result of such an infection.
Sensorineural hearing loss : Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by certain kinds of damage inflicted on the delicate nerves and hair cells in the ear that are responsible for sensing sound waves.
Acoustic (Sound) Trauma – This is the type of hearing loss that is increasing rapidly in the general population. Prolonged and continuous exposure to loud noise eventually damages the hair cells in the ear that sense sound and varying degrees of hearing loss are the result.
Head Trauma – A blow to any part of the head can disrupt the delicate nerve system of the ear, resulting in hearing loss.
High Levels of Certain Medications – High dose of certain medications can cause hearing loss. This includes certain antibiotics, aspirin based products and some cancer drugs.
Vascular Diseases – Certain vascular diseases can contribute to hearing loss including sickle cell anemia, peripheral vascular disease and diabetes.
Ménière disease – This is a disease that gradually worsens and affects both hearing and balance. The disease is usually accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Common Childhood Illnesses – Measles, mumps even a bout of the flu can cause hearing loss.
Aging – As people age they inevitably lose some of their hearing.
These are some of the most common causes of hearing loss but they are not the only ones. If you or a loved one are not hearing as clearly as you used to, especially if the hearing loss is sudden, then a trip to your doctor as soon as possible is a must.