If any part of the ear is not working correctly, occurs a condition called hearing loss. However, this condition is the third most common health issue that happens in the United States and it affects about 48 million people. Unfortunately, this condition negatively affects someone’s quality of life and relationships.

Experts divide this condition into three parts. It depends on which part of the hearing is damaged. As a result, the hearing loss can be:

  • Conductive (affects outer and middle ear)
  • Sensorineural (impacts inner ear only)
  • Mixed (this is the combination of the previous two)

In addition, different factors can contribute to hearing loss including age, health conditions, and genetics. Moreover, modern life also can contribute to this ear disease by ongoing noise, too many sources of loud, medications, and others. Generally, the best way to keep long-term hearing is prevention because there are a lot of untreatable hearing loss cases.


Experts classify hearing loss by degrees. For example:

  • Mild hearing loss (Occurs when you cannot catch every word, especially when it is a background noise)
  • Moderate hearing loss (Mostly, a person needs to ask people to repeat themselves during a conversation)
  • Severe hearing loss (In such cases, you almost cannot speak with someone without a hearing aid)
  • Profound hearing loss (you should use hearing aids or cochlear implants because you will not hear anything someone tells you unless they are extremely loud)

Some people may face difficulties in the early stages of hearing loss to make out such as children and female voices, especially “S” and “F” sounds. They can also:

  • Trouble having a conversation
  • Think that other people do not speak clearly
  • Misunderstand what others say
  • Get some complaints that the TV is too loud
  • Experience tinnitus (hear ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds)


Hearing involves three primary regions of the ear. For instance, sound waves go through:

  • Outer ear causing vibrations in the eardrum
  • The middle ear receives the vibrations next. After that, these vibrations are boosted by three bones.
  • In the inner ear is located the cochlea (a snail-shaped fluid-filled structure). It is responsible to change the vibrations in electric signals and send them to the brain.

One of the most common hearing loss causes is aging. About 1 in every 3 people between 65-74 years old have hearing problems. However, after 75 years old every 1 out of 2 people have some level of hearing loss.

However, experts do not fully understand why hearing problems occur in older people. They think it may occur due to lifetime exposure to noise and other damaging factors. Genes also play a role in hearing.

The hearing can decline if a person experiences continuous loudness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 22 million people in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous noise levels on their work. They include soldiers, miners, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, carpenters, and others.

In addition, musicians are also at increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss and now some of them wear special earplugs that help to protect the ears. Furthermore, there are some medications that could affect hearing or balance. As per studies, more than 200 medications and chemicals can give you adverse reactions that affect hearing and balance. For example:

Some people may experience a sudden hearing loss (which means, they lose approximately 30 decibels or more of the ability of hearing) within a few hours or days. In most cases, sudden hearing loss occurs in one ear only and healthcare providers are not able to determine what the exact cause is.

Additionally, certain health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes can elevate your risk of hearing loss. Otosclerosis (affects the middle ear) and Meniere’s disease (impacts the inner ear) and both conditions can lead to hearing loss.

Another hearing loss factor is trauma (especially skull fractures or punctured eardrum). An infection or earwax that blocks the ear canals also can decrease hearing.


Commonly, to diagnose this condition doctors perform the following tests. Examples include:

  • Physical Examination – Helps to verify the ear for wax buildup, structural problems, or infections
  • General screening tests – These tests are done to see how well you hear at different volumes)
  • Tuning fork tests – A test that involves two metal tools that make sounds when you tap them. Therefore, the exact area of your ear where hearing loss occurs.
  • Audiometer tests – In this test, your doctor can measure the sound level you can hear. This is considered the most accurate test.


The treatments usually are different among people because it depends on the underlying condition, your age, and other factors. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help to prevent hearing loss and improve the chance of recovery. Check below some treatment options:

  • Surgery – This procedure can help to reverse hearing loss provoked by otosclerosis, scar tissue, infection, or others. However, if you experience Meniere’s disease, medications and diet can be enough to improve hearing.
  • Antibiotics – These medicines are usually prescribed when hearing loss is caused by infections.
  • Changing medicines – You can discuss with your healthcare professional to change the medicines if you think hearing loss occurs due to one medicine you are currently using.
  • Earwax removal – Some people may experience hearing loss due to earwax blockage. Therefore, your doctor will use a special tool to clean the ear canals.
  • A hearing aid – There are some instruments that are placed near your ear to make sounds louder. They are usually used in those who suffer from permanent hearing loss.
  • Sound-enhancing technologies – Mostly, include sound amplifying devices.
  • Cochlear implants – This treatment option is often used in children and adults with profound hearing loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are possible hearing loss complications?

Hearing loss commonly affects your quality of life and can lead to depression and isolation. Over time, some people may experience certain mental function problems due to this health condition.

Is it possible to reverse hearing loss naturally?

Some natural supplements could help to improve hearing. For example ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, and Astragalus propinquus. However, before using any of them, discuss it with your healthcare professional.

What are the main hearing loss causes?

  • Infection
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Loud noise
  • Ear infections
  • Earwax
  • Otosclerosis
  • Head trauma
  • Heredity
  • Acoustic tumors
  • Perforated eardrum and others

To determine the exact cause of your hearing loss, you should visit a healthcare professional. Moreover, if you have any additional questions, ask your healthcare professional.

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