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.
You may have to ask people to repeat themselves or turn the TV louder to 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.
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 Ménière’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.
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:
- Aminoglycoside antibiotics such as streptomycin, neomycin or kanamycin
- Large amounts of aspirin
- Loop diuretics, like lasix or ethacrynic acid
- 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.
This is an inner ear problem and symptoms can include:
- sensorineural hearing loss;
- ringing in the ear;
- sensitivity to loud sounds.
The cause of Ménière’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.
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.
Some diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea. See your doctor immediately in these cases.