Common causes of hearing loss

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What are the most common causes of hearing loss?

Each type of hearing loss may have several different causes. Exposure to loud noise is a common cause of both hearing loss and tinnitus. Infections are also a common cause, as are birth defects, genetics and reaction to drugs, especially chemotherapy or drugs used for cancer treatment.

Here are the different causes of each type of hearing loss.

Causes of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • Aging
  • Injury
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Shingles
  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)
  • Meningitis
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High fever or elevated body temperature
  • Ménière's disease (a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance)
  • Acoustic tumors
  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension

Causes of conductive hearing loss are typically “obstructions” such as:

  • Infections of the ear canal or middle ear resulting in fluid or pus buildup
  • Perforation or scarring of the eardrum
  • Wax buildup
  • Dislocation of the middle ear bones (ossicles)
  • Foreign object in the ear canal
  • Otosclerosis (an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear)
  • Abnormal growths or tumors

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