Causes of Hearing Loss

hearing lossIf you’ve been following our blog, or have visited our offices in Gig Harbor or Tacoma, you probably know that noises you hear every day can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss. But there are many other ways a person can lose his hearing. Here are some common causes of hearing loss from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Medical Causes


This disease affects movement of small bones in the middle ear. Ostosclerosis can cause conductive hearing loss, which occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum. This disease can be treated with surgery.


Ménière’s Disease

This disease affects the inner ear and is marked by dizziness, tinnitus, sensitivity to loud noises and sensorinueral hearing loss (the most common type of permanent hearing loss, stemming from damage to the inner ear). The disease usually appears in people ages 30 to 50, and can be managed by an audiologist.


Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease

This type of severe hearing loss is caused by antibodies or immune cells that attack the inner ear. It happens suddenly, and should be treated medically as soon as possible. With treatment, the hearing loss can be reduced.


Acoustic Neuroma

This type of hearing loss is caused by a tumor. Symptoms of acoustic nueroma can include hearing loss as well as ringing in one ear accompanied by a feeling of fullness in that ear. The condition can be treated medically.


Certain Medications

Some medications, known as ototoxic medications, can cause hearing loss. These include antibiotics such as streptomycin, neomycin, or kanamycin, large quantities of aspirin, and some medications used in chemotherapy. Hearing loss from these medications can sometimes be reversed, once the patient discontinues use of the drug.


Physical Head Injury

A head trauma resulting in a traumatic brain injury, skull fractures, a hole in the eardrum, or damage to the middle ear can result in permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and other medical issues. Hearing loss relating to a head injury can be treated with speech therapy.



This type of sensorineural hearing loss occurs gradually later in life. It affects hearing in both ears over time. Speech begins to sound muffled or unclear because the ability to hear high pitch sounds disappears first. It is commonly caused by gradual changes in the inner ear. It can be treated with hearing aids and other devices.


Loud Noises

Noises over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss over time. About 26 million Americans suffer from some degree of Noise Induced Hearing Loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Hearing aids often help. Additionally, a single exposure to an extremely loud blast, such an explosion, can cause sudden hearing loss. This is called acoustic trauma and is often not treatable. Hearing loss caused by any degree of noise can be prevented by wearing hearing protection and staying away from loud noises.

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Harbor Audiology is your hearing healthcare expert, serving the areas of Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Tacoma, Lakewood, and Puyallup, Washington.

If you’re suffering from hearing loss, Harbor Audiology can help. Our expert audiologists in Gig Harbor, Tacoma and Silverdale, Washington will perform a series of hearing evaluations to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss and whether hearing aids will help you. Then, we’ll help you select the right pair for your unique needs. Start your journey toward better hearing today. Make an appointment with Harbor Audiology.

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