Hearing Loss is not just for Seniors! Part 2

Hearing Loss is not just for Seniors! Part 2

Elderly man hard of hearingYesterday we were talking about causes of hearing loss. Here are some more causes of hearing loss.

  • Congenital Hearing Loss:
    • Hearing loss can be present at birth and can be genetic or can be caused by other factors such as maternal infections, low birth weight, prematurity, lack of oxygen and many others.
  • Genetics/Hereditary
    • Hearing loss can be genetic. In infants born with hearing loss 50 to 60% of hearing loss is genetic. 70% of genetic hearing loss is non-syndromic meaning that hearing loss occurs in isolation without any other symptoms. The inner ear is complex and there are many different genes (more than 100) associated with hearing loss. One common gene that causes hearing loss is the GJB2 gene that plays a crucial role in the function of the inner ear and hearing.
  • Noise exposure:
    • Noisy work environments or hobbies have the potential to damage hearing over time.  Hearing loss from noise exposure is due to damage of the hair cells in the cochlea and is a sensorineural hearing loss. Noise exposure causes the most damage from 3000 to 6000 Hz. With continued noise exposure hearing loss is progressive.
  • Medications :
    • Certain medications can be ototoxic or damage the inner ear causing hearing loss, tinnitus or balance problems. Some medications can cause permanent damage while others may be reversible. Some common ototoxic medications are chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin and some antibiotics such as gentamicin. Other medications that can cause hearing loss include loop diuretics, and quinine.
  • Meniere’s disease
    • Is characterized by the symptoms of hearing loss, vertigo, tinnitus and fullness in the ears. These symptoms of often occur in attacks and the disease can be progressive. The cause of Meniere’s Disease is not well understood but is caused by an increase of pressure within the inner ear called endolyphatic hydrops.
  • Sudden Hearing Loss:
    • Sudden hearing loss is a rapid onset of hearing loss in one or both ears that occurs within a 72-hour period.  In 85-90% of cases the cause of sudden hearing loss is unknown.

There are many other causes of hearing loss including: head injury, Meningitis, Autoimmune disorders, Ramsay hunt syndrome, cytomegalovirus, Lyme disease, Craniofacial syndromes and many others.

And finally hearing loss can occur due to age…

  • Presbycusis
    • Is the loss of hearing that occurs in many with age. Presbycusis most often causes a high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss.  Age-related hearing loss has a large variability.


In our next post we will be talking about some unexpected causes of hearing loss… and some are surprising!

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