There are several possible causes of hearing loss. HL can be congenital or acquired.
Congenital HL means that HL is present at birth. It can be caused by genetic (hereditary) or non-genetic (acquired) factors.
Acquired HL means that the HL develops after birth. Hearing loss can occur at any time in life, resulting from an illness or injury.
We will briefly describe the most common causes of acquired hearing loss in adults:
Age-related hearing loss
Age related hearing loss is the major cause of acquired HL in adults.
Aging contributes substantially to damage and deterioration of the peripheral and central auditory system.
Age-related HL most often occurs in both ears, affecting them equally.
People with age-related HL may not realize that they have lost some of their ability to hear until it reaches a noticeable degree, because the loss occurs gradually.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as machines noise in a construction site.
Recreational activities such as target shooting and hunting, listening to MP3 players at high volume through earbuds or headphones, playing in a band, and attending loud concerts are also a source of risk for NIHL. Even at home we might be exposed to harmful noises coming from sources such as vacuum cleaners and blenders.
Exposure to high levels of noise is the most common cause of hearing loss in adults but age related hearing loss which is potentiated by noise has the highest prevalence in older adults.
More than 200 medications in the market today are known to be ototoxic.
These drugs might cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear resulting in HL, ringing in the ear or balance disorders.
Include medicines used to treat serious infections, cancer and heart disease.
Hearing and balance problems caused by these drugs can sometimes be reversed when the drug therapy is discontinued.
Sometimes the damage is permanent.