What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be caused by many different factors and can occur at any age from birth through the senior years. One category of loss is called conductive loss and relates to problems with the transmission of sound waves through the outer and middle ear. Sounds that enter the ear can be disrupted by wax blocking the ear, a perforated ear drum, middle ear infections or fluid in the ears.

The other category of hearing loss is sensorineural loss and relates to problems with the reception of sound by the nerve cells within the ear. There can be many causes of this type of hearing loss including: congenital factors, illness, over-exposure to noise, and loud music, as well as age-related changes and use of some medications. Recent studies show a relationship between sensorineural loss and over-use of the cell-phone and in-the-ear audio devices which can damage the inner ear.