Common Hearing Problems 

Posted by Kayla Phillips on

Hearing loss affects around 20% of Americans. Although older adults are at the greatest risk for hearing problems, hearing loss can and does affect people of all ages.

In general, there are two main types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss, which is usually permanent, and conductive hearing loss, which can often be reversed with proper treatment. 

  1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the auditory nerve or the delicate inner ear is damaged. This type of hearing loss can occur at any age and has a variety of causes.

Hearing Loss at Birth

Around 2-3% of every 1,000 children are born with some degree of hearing loss. Causes of congenital sensorineural hearing loss include: 

* Premature birth

* Maternal diabetes or pre-eclampsia

* Lack of oxygen during birth

* Genetics

* Diseases such as rubella, which can pass from the mother to the child in the womb. 

Hearing Loss in Childhood

Several common childhood diseases can cause hearing loss, including meningitis, encephalitis, measles, chickenpox, and the flu. For example, author and activist Helen Keller became blind and deaf at the age of 19 months because of a childhood illness, likely either scarlet fever or rubella. Fortunately, many of these illnesses can be prevented with normal childhood vaccines. 

Hearing Loss in Adulthood

Other causes of sensorineural hearing loss include: 

* Aging - Hearing loss affects one in three Americans between 65-74, and almost half of those over 75. The most common type of hearing loss is age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis. This type of hearing loss is caused by the natural aging process and is usually gradual. Symptoms of age-related hearing loss include difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds, difficulty understanding speech, and a feeling of fullness in the ears.

* Noise - Noise-induced hearing loss is another common type of hearing loss. Very loud noises, such as explosions, can cause hearing loss almost instantly, and sounds over 85 decibels cause hearing damage over time.  This type of hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud noises, such as those from machinery, concerts, or firearms. Symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss include ringing in the ears, difficulty hearing in noisy environments, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. For example, restaurants, subway stations and factories can easily exceed 85 db. Any time you must shout to be heard; your hearing is at risk.

* Medications - Over 200 medications are known to cause hearing damage, including certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and chemotherapy drugs. Check with your pharmacist if you are concerned about the side effects of any of your medications. 

Even though sensorineural hearing loss can’t be cured, hearing aids can help. In addition, cochlear implants are an option for some people with severe sensorineural hearing loss. 

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss

Our ears translate soundwaves into nerve impulses that our brain can understand. If sound waves don’t reach our middle ear, we can’t hear. This is known as conductive hearing loss. Fortunately, conductive hearing loss can usually be reversed with proper treatment.  

Conductive hearing loss can be caused by a build-up of earwax in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear (with or without an infection), or a punctured eardrum.

Conditions that cause conductive hearing loss can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

* Earache

* A feeling of fullness or stuffiness in the ear

* Muffled hearing

* Discharge from ears

* Ringing, buzzing, or popping in the ear

Meniere’s disease is a type of hearing loss that is caused by an imbalance of fluid in the inner ear. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease include dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss.

If you have these, or any other ear discomfort or hearing difficulty, see your doctor right away. Only a doctor can properly diagnose and treat your ear problem. 

Trusted Resources

SonoVive -  The Hearing Loss Solution

Cortexi – Hearing & Tinnitus Relief,

NeuroRise – Improve Hearing stop Tinnitus

VidaCalm - Tinnitus and Ear Health




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You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs.

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