There are many causes of hearing loss, including:

  • heredity
  • accidents
  • diseases (such as measles, mumps, and spinal meningitis)
  • drugs
  • noise
  • aging

If you recognized your hearing loss when you were fifty-five or older, the most probable cause was age-related hearing loss are due to unknown causes.

Some of the known causes are explained below:


A large proportion of hearing loss that occurs at birth or in the first few years of life is hereditary. Many types of adult-onset and progressive hearing loss are also hereditary.

A hereditary (genetic) hearing loss is something easy to identify from family history; a parent or a sibling also may have a loss.

Partially deaf daughter caring for hearing impaired parent

In some families, however, the gene that causes hearing loss is recessive, which means the hearing loss may be passed on by parents, even if they themselves do not have a hearing loss.


Automobile and work-related accidents can result in head injuries. These injuries, in turn, can cause a dramatic hearing loss. It is usually sudden and traumatic.


Diseases such as measles, mumps, and spinal meningitis that are accompanied by high fever have been the cause of hearing loss in many people.

These diseases can have indirect consequences as well. For example, when a pregnant woman contracts or is exposed to German measles during the first trimester of pregnancy, there is an increased risk that her child will be born with a hearing loss.

The rubella (German measles) epidemic of the mid-1960’s caused a significant increase inthe number of deaf and hard of hearing people. Since then, vaccinations have greatly reduced the occurrence of these diseases.


Some drugs prescribed for medical problems are ototoxic, meaning they have the potential to cause damage to the inner ear, which may result in temporary or permanent hearing loss.

If you have a hearing loss, ask your doctor about the medications prescribed for you so that you can prevent an aggravation of your hearing problem.


Prolonged exposure to loud noise at or above 90 decibels can damage the sensitive hair cells lining the cochlea. This may cause partial or severe hearing loss.

Occupational noise exposure, the most common form of noise-induced hearing loss, threatens the hearing of firefighters, police officers, military personnel, pilots, construction and factory workers, musicians, farmers, and truck drivers, to name a few.

Non-occupational sources of hazardous noise such as live or recorded high volume music, recreational vehicles, airplanes, lawn-care equipment, woodworking tools, household appliances such as mixers, blenders, and vacuum cleaners; and chain saws also cause hearing loss.

Because no medical or surgical treatment can correct a hearing loss resulting from noise exposure, prevention is so important.


Presbycusis is the term used to describe the slow, progressive type of hearing loss that is associated with aging.

At age sixty-five, one out of every three people has a hearing loss.

Elderly couple suffering from hearing loss

Age-related hearing loss often is due to a lifetime of exposure to dangerous levels of noise or to hereditary adult-onset hearing loss.

Audiologist use both formal and informal test to determine a person’s ability to hear and understand.

Although these test usually measure hearing abilities, the audiologist may also test skills at interpreting gestures and facial expressions.

The audiologist routinely test three aspects of hearing: the degree of hearing ability, the kind of hearing loss (if any) and the ability to understand speech under different conditions.

An audiologist needs a bachelor’s degree in speech language pathology or a related field, a master’s degree in audiology and a certificate of clinical competence in order to practice independently. Some states also require a license.


Some Statewide Services



Department of Rehabilitation Services, 2129 East South Blvd. PO. Box 11586, Montgomery AL, 36111-0586, (334) 281-8780 (v) (334) 613-2249 (TDD) (800) 4417607 V/TTY in AL


Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, 801 West 10th St, Suite 200, Juneau AK 99801-1894 (907) 465-2814 V/TTY: (800) 478-2815 in AK


Arizona Council for the Hearing impaired, 1400 West Washington St. Rm. 126, Phoenix AZ 85007 (602) 542-3323 V/TTY: (800) 352-8161 V/TTY

Communication Disorders Office Rehabilitation Services Administration, 1789 West Jefferson, 2nd Floor NW Phoenix AZ, (602) 542-3332 v;  (602) 542-6049 TTY


Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, Office of the Deaf and Wearing Impaired, 1616 Brookwood, PO. Box 3781, Little Rock AR, 72203, (501) 296-1892 V; (501) 296-1894 TTY


State Office of Deaf Access, Dept. of Social Services, 744 P St. MS 19-91, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 229-4573 (v): (916) 229-4577 (TDD)

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services, Dept. of Rehabilitation, 830 K St. Mall, Rm. 209, Sacramento CA 95814 (916) 322-3076 (v): (916) 445-3031 (TDD)


Colorado Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 600 Grant St., Suite 302, Denver CO 80203, TTY (303) 894-2515 x222, (303) 937-0561 V/TTY


Connecticut Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, 1245 Farmington Ave. West Hartford CT, 06107, (860) 561-0196 V/TTY

Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, 10 Griffin Road North, Windor CT 06095 (860) 298-2018 V/TTY: (800) 537-2549 V/TTY in CT


Delaware Office for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Dept. of Labor Building, 4425 North Market St, 3rd fl. PO. Box 9969, Wilmington, DE 19809-0969, (302) 761-8286 V/TTY

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Dept. of Labor Building, 4425 North Market St. 3rd Floor, PO. Box 9969, Wilmington DE, 19806-0969, (302) 761-8275 (v): (302) 761-8336 (TDD)


Rehabilitation Services Administration, 800 9th St. SW. 4th fl, Washington DC 20024 (202) 645-5731 (V/TDD)


Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Program, Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation, 2002 Old St. Augustine Road, Building A, Tallahassee FL 32399-0696 (904) 488-2867 (v/TDD)


Georgia Dept. of Human Resources, Div. of Rehabilitation Services, 2 Peachtree St. NW 35-414, Atlanta GA, 30303-3166 (404) 637-3000 (v/TDD)


Hawaii State Coordinating Council on Deafness, 919 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm 101, Honolulu HI 96814, (808) 586-8130 (v/TDD); (808) 586-8130

Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation, Dept. of Human Serv. 1000 Bishop St. Rm 605, Honolulu HI, 96813 (808) 586-5373 (v/TDD)


Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, 1700 Westgate Dr Boise ID, 83704 (208) 334-0879 (v); (208) 334-0803 (TDD) (800) 433-1323 V in ID, (800) 433-1361 TTY in ID

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, 245 3rd Ave. N, Two Falls ID, 83301 (208) 736-2156 (V/TDD)


Div. of Services for Persons who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Dept. of Rehabilitation Services, 100 West Randolph St. Suite 8-100, Chicago IL, 60601, (312) 814-2939 (V); (312) 814-3040 (TDD) http://www.dors.


Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Div. of Disability, Aging and Rehabilitative Services, 402 w. Washington St Room W-453, PO Box 7083 Indianapolis IN 46207-7083 (317) 232-1143 (V/TDD) (800)962-8408 (V/TDD in IN)

Division of Disability, Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 402 w. Washington St Room W-453, PO Box 7083 Indianapolis IN 46207-7083 (317) 232-1427 (V/TDD)


Deaf Services Commission of Iowa, Iowa Dept.of Human Rights, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines IA, 50319-0090 (515) 281-3164 (V/TDD)

Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 510 East 12th St. Des Moines IA 50319 (515) 281-4151 (V); (800) 532-1485 (V/TDD)


Kansas Commission for the Deaf and the Hard-of-Hearing, 3640 South Topeka Boulevard, Suite 100 Topeka, KS 66611, (785) 267-5301 (V); (785) 267-5352 (TDD)


Kentucky Commission for the Deaf and the Hard-of-Hearing, 632 Versailles Road, Frankfort Ky, 40601 (502) 573-2604 (v/TDD): (800) 372-2907 V/TDD in KY


Louisiana Commission for the Deaf, 8225 Florida Boulevard, Baton Rouge LA, 70806, (504) 925-4175 Voice (800) 256-1523 (V) (800) 543-2099


Division of Deafness Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, 35 Anthony Ave, Augusta ME 04333-0150, State Coordinator: Alice C. Johnson, (207) 624-5315 (V); 624-5322 (TDD): (800) 332-1003 V/TDD in ME

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7 Replies to “Causes of Hearing Loss”

  1. Thanks for the great info, I’m a musician and since I turned 25 I always bring my ear plugs to the gigs because I don’t want to loose my hearing just like happened to Brian Jhonson from ACDC this year, do you recommend cleaning my ears with a cotton swab? I’ve heard they are bad, thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Mario, thank you for commenting. I would recommend that you NEVER use a cotton swap in your ear. Some people would swear by its use, in regards to removing excess wax buildup. This is foolish! Sticking anything deep into your ear could cause serious damage to the ear canal which in turn, causes hearing loss. I understand you protecting your ears on stage from the loud music. Good idea! (I use to perform a lot on stage myself back in the day, so I feel ya). Mario, If you’re not satisfied with your current ear plugs, I offer some fantastic ear plug protection right here on my site. Please don’t hesitate if you have any other questions or concerns. Also, share my site with others.

  2. The hearing loss is the most common problem regardless the social demographic and lifestyle. Like facts mentioned in your article, the hearing caused by many conditions and the most common is due to the physical trauma. However, this problem can be cured using the surgical (ENT) technique and by medication. But, I think the treatment can be very  expensive. Do you think the hearing loss in elderly also associated due to the less elasticity of the tympanic membrane?

    1. Hi Rendall, thanks for commenting. First, it must be determined what would weaken the tympanic membrane. Prolonged use of medications, for such things as high blood pressure and diabetes can attribute to hearing loss in the elderly. Some chemotherapy drugs, that are toxic to the sensory cells, can also cause hearing loss. It’s hardly ever that age-related hearing loss can be caused by outer ear or middle ear abnormalities.

      But in regards to abnormalities, they may include reduced friction of the tympanic membrane or reduced function of the three tiny bones that carry sound waves from the tympanic membrane to the inner ear. So certain medical conditions and the long-term use of medications will affect the elasticity of the tympanic membrane. I hope this helped.

      Please contact me if you have any other questions or concerns. Also, share my site with others that you feel it may help. Have a great day.

  3. Hi JJ, As I mentioned before on my site, babies are smarter than we think. They learn quickly at an early age. They have the ability, although some are completely deaf, to communicate and absorb the things taught to them. Thank you for viewing. Is there anything else I can help you with?

  4. Wow, your post is so interesting! As a person who studied in the medical field, I’m very interested in blogs like yours.
    So is it possible that a child is born with the inability to hear, as a consequence of the same inability in one of the parents? I mean, assuming that one of the parents could never hear, is it possible that his/her child has the same problem? Because I didn’t know about hearing loss that it was related to genetics, and I’m really curious to know from now on.
    Anyway, thanks for these info, I really enjoyed reading your post. 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley (my Granddaughter’s name is Ashley too.) Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop communication, language and social skills. 50% to 60% of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes. So yes, it does affect them if one or the other parent has this disability as well.

      Also 25% or more of hearing loss in babies is due to ‘environmental issues; maternal infections during pregnancy & complications after birth.

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