There are a number of causes for hearing loss in adults including everything from diseases and disorders to medications and loud noises. Finding out the cause of your hearing loss can help you and your doctor figure out the best way to treat it.
Otosclerosis is one cause of hearing loss in adults. It is a middle ear disease that limits the movement of the hearing bones in the middle ear, specifically the third hearing bone, called the stapes. This can lead to progressive hearing loss. Luckily, the condition can be treated with surgery or with hearing aids.
Ménière’s disease is an inner ear problem. While the cause is unknown, it typically starts at 30-50 years old and includes symptoms like vertigo (i.e., room spinning sensation), fluctuating hearing loss, and ringing in the ears. With Ménière’s disease, hearing loss can come and go, but it can become permanent over time. It’s usually treated with lifestyle and dietary modifications, prescription medications, and occasionally surgical procedures.
Autoimmune inner ear disease
Autoimmune inner ear disease can also be a cause of hearing loss in adults. An autoimmune disorder is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks the body. Because of this, this type of hearing loss can happen quite fast. If you suddenly lose your hearing, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Certain medications are often used to keep your hearing loss at a minimum.
Some medications can also cause hearing loss as well. Because of this, it’s important to talk to your doctor about all the medications you take. Some of the medicines that may impact your hearing include:
- Aminoglycoside antibiotics like streptomycin, neomycin, or kanamycin
- Large amounts of aspirin
- Loop diuretics such as lasix or ethacrynic acid
- Some chemotherapy drugs
Very loud noise
Loud noise can also cause permanent hearing loss. Whether you go to loud concerts often or are near an explosion, hearing loss is possible when around very loud noises. The hearing loss is usually gradual, but if you’re near an extremely loud noise, it can happen suddenly.
An acoustic neuroma is a tumor that can cause hearing loss. It often shows itself via ringing in the ears and the feeling of fullness in the ear. Surgery or radiation therapy are two of the most common treatments for acoustic neuroma. If the tumor is small and doesn’t cause any symptoms, most doctors will simply ask you to keep an eye on it.
Physical head injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI), a head injury, a hole in the eardrum, or damage to the middle ear or inner ear can also cause hearing loss. The type of treatment used depends on the type of injury and how severe it is.
Presbycusis is hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear or to the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This disorder often happens as you get older. Speech may start to sound unclear or muffled, you may ask people to repeat themselves more often or you may need to turn up the TV louder than you did before. Treatment for presbycusis includes hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and cochlear implants.
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Are you struggling with hearing loss and looking for help? AOO|ENT Specialist of the Rockies is a multi-doctor practice and any of our experienced staff can help diagnose what’s causing your hearing loss and what the right treatment is for you.
To schedule a consultation today, call our Lone Tree, Castle Rock, or Denver, CO office or use our online scheduling form.