Hearing loss can affect anyone at any place at any time. As CEENTA neurotology specialist Daniel Morrison, MD, indicates, “Hearing loss is a highly prevalent issue that can affect people of any age or background and deserves more widespread awareness efforts.”

Yet the causes for hearing loss, although shared among patients, can cause variances in how much hearing is diminished over time or at once. By knowing these root causes, you can act proactively for yourself or your loved ones.

In This Article...

  1. Hearing Loss Cause 1: Noise-induced hearing loss
  2. Hearing Loss Cause 2: Ear or head trauma
  3. Hearing Loss Cause 3: Ear infection
  4. Hearing Loss Cause 4: Genetics
  5. Hearing Loss Cause 5: Earwax buildup

Hearing Loss Cause 1: Noise-induced hearing loss

Many individuals associate hearing loss with excessive exposure to loud volume, and with good reason. Noise-induced hearing loss is due to structural damage in the inner ear (the cochlea) and hair cells that respond to sound. This can result in slight to severe hearing reduction in one or both ears and is often from long-term exposure to noise from situations like:

  • Listening to audio at high volumes
  • Standing too close to speakers at concerts
  • Occupational noise exposure (ex. Farming, military, construction)

Ear or head trauma

While not as prevalent as noise exposure, hearing loss can also be due to blunt force trauma to the ear or head. In the case of the former, injuries can include an ear drum rupture, swelling and fluid buildup, or ossicular dislocation. Head trauma can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) such as a concussion that affects regions of the brain responsible for processing hearing.

Hearing Loss Cause 3: Ear infection

Hearing loss can temporarily occur during a middle ear infection. As bacteria and viruses enter the ear, they can cause the eustachian tubes (narrow tubes that connect your ears to the throat) to swell and prevent pressure and fluid from regulating. This buildup can make it hard for sound to reach the eardrum and even harder for your brain to process. While this can disappear following treatment, severe ear infections can damage the eardrum and lead to longer or permanent hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Cause 4: Genetics

Even though hearing loss is predominantly connected with environmental factors, it can also be passed down genetically. In fact, studies have shown that nearly 60% of hearing loss cases in babies can be pointed to genetic predisposition, more specifically with an autosomal recessive disorder called GJB2-related hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Cause 5: Earwax buildup

Your hearing loss could be as simple as having too much earwax in your ear. This waxy byproduct is not necessarily negative, as it is useful in keeping your ears clean and free of debris. However, some individuals are prone to earwax buildup and impact, which can block your hearing. Furthermore, too much earwax without proper removal can lead to fluid buildup and subsequent ear infections.

Whether it’s you, your children, or your parents, hearing loss can limit your ability to interact with the world. “Unrecognized, hearing loss may contribute to communication problems in school, work, and in our personal relationships. More recently, cognitive decline has been strongly linked to untreated hearing loss,” Dr. Morrison explains.

That’s why CEENTA relies on the expertise of board-certified physicians and audiologists to diagnose and treat your hearing loss with options like hearing aids and cochlear implants. Patients will be able to schedule with Dr. Morrison at our SouthPark office through our online portal or by calling 704-295-3000.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you need an appointment with an ENT physician in one of our North or South Carolina locations, you can schedule an appointment online, through myCEENTAchart, or by calling 704-295-3000.


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