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The main causes and types of hearing loss

The most common causes of hearing loss are the ordinary process of aging and exposure to loud noise and . The main types of hearing loss are sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. 

What causes hearing loss?


Many people experience some degree of hearing loss after the age of 50. This is due to ‘wear and tear’ of the ear- specifically of the cells in the inner ear and the auditory system.

With a lifetime of use, the cells of the inner ear often become damaged and reduce in number. The job of the inner ear cells is to transfer sound into electrical signals that the brain can interpret. When there are fewer cells to do this, hearing becomes reduced.

Noise exposure 

Long-term exposure to high noise levels also damages the hair-like cells of the inner ear. So, if you have ever worked in a factory, a construction site, at an airport, in a loud bar or any other noisy environment, you may have an increased chance of developing hearing loss.

If you have listened to a lot of very loud music or worked as a musician, there is also a higher chance of developing a hearing loss.

Exposure to an explosive noise one or more times can also cause hearing loss. This is especially relevant for people in the police force or the military.

If you spend a lot of time in environments with high sound levels, it is important to reduce the risk of hearing loss by using hearing protection whenever possible. 

Other causes of hearing loss

Some illnesses and medications can also cause hearing loss, as well as head injuries and structural problems in the ear.

If you are concerned about any of these causes, consult your doctor or a Hearing Care Professional.

Three easy steps towards better hearing

Types of hearing loss

The main types of hearing loss are called sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Mixed hearing loss

Degrees of hearing loss

Hearing loss is generally described  in four different levels – mild, moderate, severe and profound.

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Profound

It is important to know which type of hearing loss you have in order to identify the right treatment. Your hearing care professional will be able to do this.