Causes of hearing loss?

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A quick look at why you or a loved one could be experiencing hearing loss

Learning about the causes of hearing loss and the type of hearing loss you or a loved one could be experiencing, is the first step towards finding solutions that allow life to be lived to the fullest. Experiencing hearing loss - whatever the cause or extent - isn’t pleasant, but there is good news: thanks to modern hearing aid technology, hearing loss is a treatable condition.

Hearing loss falls into two broad categories: the first is congenital, which is hearing loss that is present at birth and caused by factors like genetics or premature birth. The second is acquired, which is hearing loss that occurs after birth, and is the result of factors like illness or damage to the ear.

Although we in fact "hear" with our brains, hearing loss happens when one part of the ear - the outer, middle or inner ear - is damaged or unable to function properly, and cannot conduct sound signals to the brain normally.


Causes in the outer ear

These are usually easy to address, and include problems like wax plugs and infections of the auditory canal.

Causes in the middle ear

A consistent ringing in the ears, lasting longer than three months. We strongly recommend consulting a hearing care professional who is trained and experienced in treating tinnitus patients. These professionals have in-depth knowledge of different tinnitus treatment options and will thoroughly discuss your individual needs and possible solutions with you.

Causes in the inner ear

This is where most hearing issues arise. The most common cause is the natural aging process, but loud noise, some types of medication or skull fractures can also affect hearing. Fine hair cells in the inner ear become damaged and affect the transmission of signals to the auditory nerves. Usually, inner ear hearing loss cannot be addressed medically but can be corrected with hearing aids.

Common Hearing Loss Conditions

Auditory Deprivation

Auditory Deprivation is a condition that occurs in individuals suffering from hearing loss where their brain loses the ability to interpret words due to a lack of stimulation over an extended period of time. The lack of stimulation in this area of the brain causes you to lose the functionality of understanding speech.

Social isolation

Social isolation has been associated to health issues. If we have difficulty with hearing in noisy environments, the tendency for many is to withdraw by not going to noisy restaurants or go out to dinner as often, or attend church functions or other kinds of social engagements and in that way become more isolated.

Proactive in Treating Hearing Loss

Several studies have indicated that there is a connection between hearing loss and brain function decline. MRI studies have shown that people with hearing loss use parts of the brain beyond the auditory cortex to decode sounds, so hearing loss affects much of the brain. There are also studies showing a faster decline in brain volume in people with hearing loss than in people with normal hearing. There is a body of evidence that hearing loss can have significant consequences for both cognitive function and neural integrity.

Cognitive Decline and Hearing Loss

Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to negative effects including social isolation, depression, increased risk of falls and dementia. What to do? Be proactive. Don’t wait. Get help. Remind yourself that needing help with hearing is no different than reading glasses to read. Have your hearing checked regularly to identify the extent of the hearing loss, find the right options for you, and maintain a healthy hearing level.

Get the hearing loss facts

The stats don't lie: you are not alone in your hearing loss!


An estimated 1.1 billion people around the world are affected by hearing loss – that's about 16% of the world’s population.


Approximately 1 in every 1000 infants have hearing loss.


Approximately 1 in 3 people over 60 have hearing loss.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic ear infections are a leading cause of hearing loss.


Studies show that around 65% of people with hearing loss experience mild hearing loss, 30% moderate and 5% severe or profound hearing loss


About 1/3 of all people with hearing loss are of retirement age.


The majority of people with hearing loss are of school-going or working age.


Studies show that only 1 in 5 people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic ear infections are a leading cause of hearing loss.

Types of hearing loss

General guidelines to help you identify the degree of hearing loss you or a loved one could be experiencing


Mild hearing loss

Soft noises are not heard. Understanding speech is difficult in a loud environment.

Moderate hearing loss

Soft and moderately loud noises are not heard. Understanding speech becomes very difficult with background noise.

Severe hearing loss

Conversations have to be conducted loudly. Group conversations require a lot of effort.

Profound hearing loss

Some very loud noises are heard. Without a hearing aid, communication is no longer possible even with intense effort.

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