Causes of Hearing Loss

There are many different causes of hearing loss in San Diego residents young and old. It’s important to identify the cause of a hearing loss whenever possible, as it may continue harming your auditory system or point to a more serious underlying health condition. Your audiologist may ask you questions, study your medical history or perform a physical examination in order to help identify the cause of your hearing loss after a diagnosis.

Conductive Hearing Loss Causes

Conductive hearing loss affects the outer or middle ear. The most common causes of conductive hearing loss include middle ear infections, or otitis media, as well as blockages or buildups of wax of fluids. In addition to these possibilities, other causes of hearing loss in San Diego patients include malformations of the ear canal or other structures, allergies, poorly functioning Eustachian tubes, a perforated eardrum, benign tumors, foreign objects in the ear, and otosclerosis, which is a hereditary condition that causes an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Causes

Sensorineural problems are the cause of most hearing losses in San Diego residents—about 9 in 10 cases of hearing loss are related to problems of the inner ear. There are two common causes of sensorineural impairments: noise exposure and the natural aging process. Additional causes include head trauma, viruses (including measles, mumps, viral meningitis, and rubella), diseases (including autoimmune inner ear disease, Meniere’s disease, bacterial meningitis, syphilis), malformations of the inner ear structures, tumors, and ototoxic medications. There are more than 200 known medications that can harm your hearing, including some antibiotics, painkillers like aspirin, chemotherapy drugs, and many more.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

Sudden or prolonged exposure to loud noises is the top cause of hearing loss and the number-one concern amongst San Diego hearing loss professionals. The popularity of earbuds, headphones, and cellphones has caused the incidence of NIHL to skyrocket—especially amongst children, teens, and adults. The good news is that NIHL is entirely preventable. Talk to your ENT doctor or an audiologist at our La Jolla or Carlsbad offices to find out how to protect your ears the right way.

Age-Related Hearing Loss (Presbycusis)

Many seniors develop hearing loss naturally as they age, and there is little to do to prevent this from happening. An estimated 1 in 3 people over 65 has hearing loss, and regular testing is vital to catching the problem early and treating it effectively. Since hearing loss has been linked to depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and many other health problems, it’s vital to ensure you get your hearing tested regularly, especially for those over 40.