Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults

March 17, 2021
Mature couple highlighting hearing loss in adults
Published on  Updated on  

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss refers to the decreased ability to hear and discriminate between sounds leading to communication difficulties. Hearing loss occurs gradually; it is one of the most common long-term health problems and it can affect people of all ages.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 1 in 5 people over the age of 60, 1 in 3 people over the age of 70, and 1 in 2 people over the age of 80 have hearing loss, which shows as we grow older we are more likely to have hearing loss. However it is not just the elderly who may have hearing loss since statistics show that 35% of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65.

What causes hearing loss in adults

  • Exposure to excessive noise
  • Infections, particularly involving the head or ears
  • Family history of hearing loss
  • Birth defects
  • Aging process
  • Reaction to medication or cancer treatment
  • Head trauma

Observe if you or anyone that you know is experiencing and of the following symptoms of hearing loss:

  • Complain that people mumble
  • Difficulty understanding speech, especially in the presence of background noise
  • Ask others to repeat themselves and/or to speak louder
  • Children and women’s voices are difficult to understand
  • A ringing sensation exists in one or both ears
  • Tendency to favour one ear over the other
  • Listen to the TV or Radio at a higher volume than in the past
  • People around you complain about your hearing ability
  • Avoid conversation and social interaction


What are the symptoms of hearing loss in adults?

Hearing loss can have a profound impact on your emotional, physical and social well-being. If you don't get the correct professional treatment for your hearing loss as soon as possible, you are likely to experience symptoms which could have a major impact on your life:

  • Isolation and social withdrawal
  • Lack of attention/difficulty concentrating
  • Work-related problems
  • Avoid participation in social activities
  • Difficulty communicating with family members and friends
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Headaches and high-blood pressure  

Types of Hearing Loss

The type of hearing loss determines the specific treatment required. There are three types of hearing loss:

Conductive Hearing Loss: Caused by any condition or disease that blocks or impedes the transmission of sound through the middle ear resulting in a reduction in the sound level (loudness) that reaches the cochlea. This can be caused by something as simple as earwax build-up! In most cases treatment produces a complete or partial improvement in hearing.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss: A loss or distortion of sound transmission resulting from damage to the inner ear hair cells or to any of the pathway from the inner ear to the auditory cortex of the brain.  This type of hearing loss is usually permanent and irreversible.  The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is amplification through hearing aids.

Mixed Hearing Loss: This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

NOTE: Not all hearing loss can be corrected through the use of hearing aids.

For more information, please contact Hearmore4less here

Dr. George Panayiotou, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA
Clinical Audiologist

Published on  Updated on