Common causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss is a complex condition with many causes. From age-related factors to external influences, it's important to understand the root cause. This not only helps address the issue, but also helps work out the best course of action

Common causes of hearing loss

  • Aging: As we grow older, our hearing can naturally decline
  • Loud noises: Prolonged exposure to loud noises can damage the inner ear
  • Genetic factors: Certain inherited conditions can make us more susceptible to hearing issues
  • Medications: Some drugs have side effects that can affect hearing
  • Acoustic neuroma: This is a non-cancerous growth that can impact the auditory nerve
  • Earwax build-up: Excessive earwax can block the ear canal, leading to temporary hearing loss
  • Infections and illnesses: Conditions like sinusitis can influence your hearing
  • Physical trauma: Injuries to the head or ear can result in hearing impairment
  • Lifestyle factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity can indirectly affect hearing
  • Foreign objects: Something as simple as an insect can block the ear canal
  • Other medical conditions: Diseases like tympanic effusion can affect hearing

Types of hearing loss explained

  • Sensorineural: This occurs due to damage to the inner ear or the nerve pathways to the brain. It can be present from birth or develop later in life
  • Conductive: Sound waves are obstructed in the outer or middle ear, preventing them from reaching the inner ear. Causes range from infections to damage to the middle ears bones (ossicles).
  • Mixed: A combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, affecting multiple parts of the ear
  • Noise-induced: Resulting from exposure to extremely loud sounds, this can be due to a single intense event or prolonged exposure
  • High-frequency: Struggling to hear sounds in the 2,000 to 8,000 Hertz range, often due to factors like aging, noise exposure, or genetics (FYI: Hertz measures the number of wave cycles (or frequency) passing through a given point in one second)
  • Unilateral: This affects only one ear, with the other ear functioning normally. It can be present from birth or develop later
  • Post-infection: An ear infection can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss, especially if recurrent or untreated
    Strategies for improving your hearing

Strategies for improving your hearing

Hearing changes can be subtle or sudden, and they can come on at any age. You might even find that others notice these changes before you do. No matter who recognises it first, it's a good idea to get your hearing checked when it happens.

At Bupa, we're dedicated to helping you improve your hearing health. We’ve partnered with Amplifon who can help to identify the type of hearing loss you're experiencing, its cause, and the best solutions available.

Whether you're considering hearing aids, seeking a hearing assessment appointment, or simply want an online hearing test, we're here to help.

Your hearing is a vital part of your overall well-being. Stay attuned to its health and seek help if you have any concerns.

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If you have noticed changes to your hearing, or you're just curious, book in for your free hearing test.

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