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Hearing Loss: Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

  • April 14,2022
  • 2 Min Read
Hearing Loss: Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Hearing loss can affect one or both ears and vary from mild to severe to profound. There are various causes, and it can strike anyone at any age, but it is most frequent in people over 60 years.

Ear problems can be distressing and may be linked with other health conditions. Though ear infections are more common in children than adults, taking regular ear check-ups is essential.


What are the types of hearing loss?

A hearing loss can occur when any part of the ear or auditory (hearing) system is not working correctly.

  1. Conductive (involves outer or middle ear): Hearing loss caused by something obstructing sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear; often treatable with medicine or surgery.
  2. Sensorineural (involves inner ear): Hearing loss occurs when there is a difficulty in the way the inner ear or hearing nerve works.
  3. Mixed (combination of the two): Hearing loss includes both a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss.


What are the causes and risk factors of hearing loss?

The causes and risk factors of hearing loss include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Chronic ear infections (chronic suppurative otitis media)
  2. Accumulation of fluid in the ear (chronic nonsuppurative otitis media)
  3. Low birth-weight 
  4. Lack of oxygen during the time of birth (birth asphyxia)
  5. Chronic diseases - diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, etc.
  6. Smoking
  7. Otosclerosis
  8. Age-related inner ear (sensorineural) degeneration
  9. Cerumen impaction (impacted ear wax) 
  10. Trauma to the ear or head
  11. Loud noise/sounds
  12. Nutritional deficiencies 
  13. Viral infections and other ear conditions
  14. Delayed onset or progressive genetic hearing loss


What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

Although symptoms vary depending on various factors, some common ones are:

  1. Trouble understanding words, primarily against background noise or in a crowd
  2. Muffling of speech and other sounds
  3. Trouble hearing consonants
  4. Listening to loud volume on the television or the radio
  5. Frequently requesting others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
  6. Withdrawal from conversations
  7. Avoidance of some social settings


Recommended tests

At Suburban Diagnostics, we offer Audiometry tests for:

  1. Difficulty in hearing
  2. Unexplained vertigo
  3. Unexplained dizziness
  4. Pre-employment check-ups
  5. To pilots and cabin crew
  6. To mountain hikers and trekkers
  7. For Autism
  8. Learning disabilities
  9. Corporate health check-ups


How to prevent hearing loss?

  1. Turn down the volume of the TV, radio, or music.
  2. If listening to loud music, take listening breaks to reduce your exposure.
  3. Walk away from the loud noise.
  4. Use hearing protection devices (such as earplugs and earmuffs) when you cannot avoid loud sounds.
  5. Get regularly screened for hearing.


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