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12 reasons for hearing loss

The following list gives an overview of what may be causing your hearing to deteriorate.

Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss

This is a sensorineural hearing loss that happens as you get older. Speech may start to sound muffled or unclear, and you may have to ask people to repeat themselves or increase TV volume so you can hear it.

Very loud noise

Loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is painless and usually happens over time. Hearing an extremely loud sound, like an explosion, can cause a sudden hearing loss.

Genetic makeup

Your genetic makeup may make you more susceptible to ear damage from sound or deterioration from ageing.

Sudden hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss in one ear may be due to build-up of earwax, an ear infection, a perforated (burst) eardrum or Meniere’s disease. Sudden hearing loss in both ears may be due to damage from a very loud noise or taking certain medicines that can affect hearing.

Gradual hearing loss

Gradual hearing loss in one ear may be due to something inside the ear, such as fluid (glue ear), a bony growth (otosclerosis) or a build-up of skin cells (cholesteatoma). Gradual hearing loss in both ears is usually caused by ageing or exposure to loud noises over many years.

Ototoxic medications

Some medicines can cause hearing loss and you should talk with your doctor about the medicines you take. Those that may impact hearing include the following:

  1. Aminoglycoside antibiotics such as streptomycin, neomycin or kanamycin
  2. Large amounts of aspirin
  3. Loop diuretics, like lasix or ethacrynic acid
  4. Some chemotherapy drugs


This is a middle-ear disease which makes it harder for the tiny bones in the middle ear to move. It causes a conductive hearing loss. This condition is often treated with surgery.

Meniere’s disease

This is an inner ear problem and symptoms can include:

  1. Sensorineural hearing loss
  2. Dizziness
  3. Ringing in the ear
  4. Sensitivity to loud sounds

The cause of Meniere’s disease is not known. It usually starts in people between 30 and 50 years old. The hearing loss comes and goes, but over time some loss becomes permanent.

Autoimmune inner-ear disease

This type of hearing loss happens fast and you should see your doctor as soon as possible if you suddenly lose your hearing. An autoimmune disorder is one where your body attacks itself and medical treatment can help keep hearing loss to a minimum.

Acoustic neuroma

This is an example of a tumor that causes hearing loss. It can also cause ringing in your ear and feeling like your ears are full. You need medical treatment for an acoustic neuroma.

Physical head injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI), hole in the eardrum, and damage to the middle-ear can cause hearing loss.

Other illnesses

Some diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea. See your doctor immediately in these cases.

If you have any questions or require advice, get in touch online or call us on 01223 661399.