What Causes Hearing Loss? Common Reasons for Experiencing Hearing Loss


Hearing loss in any form can be devastating and there are two main types. Unilateral hearing loss, also known as single-sided deafness, affects only one ear, making it hard to determine the source of sounds. Then there’s hearing loss that occurs in both ears (bilateral hearing loss), and it can be caused by a number of different things.

Hearing loss can be both rapid, having a sudden occurrence (usually due to a loud noise), or it can slowly happen over time. It can also be a temporary side effect or a permanent result of one (or maybe more) of the following.


It is widely known that certain medications can cause a number of different side effects, but many may not know that hearing loss is actually a common side effect of several types of medications. Even Aspirin can cause hearing issues if taken in large doses. Other types of drugs, known as ototoxic drugs, have been reported to cause hearing loss and other issues relating to the ears. This, however, is not the most common form of hearing loss, as it doesn’t happen as often as people may think. Tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears) is also another side effect of these medications.

Medical Conditions

A number of medical conditions can cause hearing loss. Hearing loss can be genetic, and the gene can be passed down from parent to child. Fortunately as science advances, more genetic testing can be done to identify hearing issues early on. The advancement of technology also allows for more sophisticated hearing aids to help improve hearing. Certain illnesses, such as Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis, and middle ear infections can cause hearing loss as well. If you’ve experienced any type of head injury, head traumas can also cause hearing loss, and other health issues, by damaging the inner ear and causing hearing loss.

Age-Related Hearing Loss

Hearing loss due to aging is very common, with more than 30% of adults over the age of 65 suffering from some type of hearing loss. Unfortunately, the hearing loss can be so gradual that it may not be noticeable until a substantial amount of hearing loss has occurred. High-pitched sounds are the hardest to hear due to the cells in the inner ear dying as we get older. This is why it is extremely important to protect your hearing as much as possible because age-related hearing loss cannot be reversed, but it can be preserved.

Exposure to Loud Noises

This is probably the most common cause of hearing loss, and it is also the most preventable. Excessive exposure to loud noises can damage the inner ear. Everyday noises such as loud traffic can cause gradual hearing loss, as well as listening to loud music (with or without headphones) often.

Still, the main source of loud noise exposure comes from working conditions. Many jobs, such as construction, have their workers exposed to loud noises which can cause immediate damage to their hearing, or gradual damage over time. Earplugs are a part of PPE (personal protective equipment) for many of these occupations that expose its workers to loud noises. Recently, there has been a recall on hearing protection for military service members due to noise exposure in combat and the earplugs issued did not effectively protect the ears from loud noises.


Once the severity of hearing loss is understood, people can take more precautions to preserve their hearing— especially when it comes to age-related hearing loss. While medications, noise exposure, and certain medical conditions can cause some form of hearing loss in some, it does not affect everyone. On the other hand, everyone gets older, so age-related hearing loss is inevitable for virtually everyone.

This form of hearing loss can be more severe for some than others, depending on lifestyle differences. This is why no matter what your family history states, it is important to make lifestyle decisions that protect your hearing, as well as your overall health.

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