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What are the Causes of Hearing Loss and Symptoms

Causes of Hearing Loss and Symptoms

Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.


Causes of Hearing Loss and Symptoms

Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, to respond to warnings, and to hear doorbells and alarms. It can also make it hard to enjoy talking with friends and family. All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous.

Three Types of Hearing Loss

  1. Conductive hearing loss – when hearing loss is due to problems with the ear canal, ear drum, or middle ear and its little bones (the malleus, incus, and stapes).

  2. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) – when hearing loss is due to problems of the inner ear, also known as nerve-related hearing loss.

  3. Mixed hearing loss – refers to a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.

Causes of Hearing Loss

  1. Malformation of outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear structures

  2. Fluid in the middle ear from colds

  3. Ear infection (otitis media – an infection of the middle ear in which an accumulation of fluid may interfere with the movement of the eardrum and ossicles

  4. Allergies

  5. Poor Eustachian tube function

  6. Perforated eardrum

  7. Benign tumors

  8. Impacted earwax

  9. Infection in the ear canal

  10. Foreign body in the ear

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

  1. Trouble understanding phone conversations

  2. Trouble hearing above background noise

  3. Trouble following a conversation when more than one person speaks at once

  4. Perception that people are not speaking clearly or mumbling

  5. Often misunderstanding what people say and responding inappropriately

  6. Often having to ask people to repeat themselves

  7. Frequent complaints by others that the TV is too loud

  8. Ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds in the ears, known as tinnitus


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