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National Hearing Care is one of the biggest providers of Australian hearing services. If you or one of your loved ones are worried about your hearing, call us to book your free hearing test, or fill out our enquiry form.

With over 90 clinics around Australia, find a location near you.

Causes of Hearing Loss

There are many causes of hearing problems. As such, in any given hearing- impaired individual, the cause is often decided on the balance of probability taking into account all the known facts. It is important that suspicion of hearing loss is investigated in Australia and the causation established whenever possible.

Presbyacusis

This is age-related hearing impairment, and is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Just as the lens of the eye loses focus with age, so too does the ability of the ear to hear. Males are more prone to earlier, and more extensive age-related hearing loss than females.

Heredity

Your family history can be a good indicator if your sudden hearing loss is genetically based. The genes that affect hearing are often associated with other physical or sensory abnormalities. The pattern of these can assist in determining if the cause is genetically based, which is why hearing loss testing is imperative.

Noise Induced

Just as looking at the sun can cause irreversible blindness; listening to noise can cause irreversible hearing disorders. Intense sounds can cause noise induced hearing loss.

Recreational noise exposure is just as damaging as industrial noise. Attending excessively loud music venues once a week for five years can cause as much damage as 40 years of work exposure.

Noise can also damage your hearing sufficiently to cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears.)

Infection

The best known of these in Australia is maternal Rubella (German measles). Other infections such as scarlet fever, chicken pox and the like can also cause significant impairment.

Middle ear infections in childhood can also cause temporary hearing loss. Untreated or chronic middle ear infections can however leave permanent impairment. Infection in the outer or middle ear can cause conductive hearing loss.

Tumours

The occurrence of an acoustic neuroma, cholesteatoma and glomus middle ear tumour are quite rare, but nonetheless potentially serious. All are treatable but may leave residual hearing problems.

An acoustic neuroma is benign and impacts hearing by compression of the acoustic nerve and/or vascular supply to the ear.

Cholesteatoma is thought to arise from a retraction of the eardrum creating a small pocket. This then begins to fills via our normal skin shedding process. The pocket then gets larger and can begin to erode surrounding structures.

Glomus tumours are thought to derive from vascular anomalies in the proximity of the middle ear.

Medications

There is a long list of medications that can cause hearing impairment. Of historic interest is the affect of quinine on hearing, taken long term by individuals living in malaria-infested areas.

Prevent Deterioration by Hearing Conservation Strategies

Minimise the Risk by Taking Reasonable Care

If the cause of the hearing disorder is known and a hearing loss treatment exists, then there is a good prospect that further deterioration can be minimised.

Industrial and Recreational Noise Exposure

Ceasing excessive noise exposure will prevent further deterioration. Achieve this by managing recreational noise exposure, or wearing hearing protection at work.

It’s Your Hearing and Your Loss. Be Proactive in Self Protection

Aside from obtaining a hearing loss test, you can limit your exposure to noisy venues.

Ageing

Unfortunately there is no cure for ageing and progress will continue in all of us due this factor.

Genetic Conditions and Diseases

The progression of some genetic conditions is well understood and a discussion with a medical specialist can inform the concerned individual. Some diseases are associated with advancing hearing loss. Your treating physician will be aware of this, and can advise you accordingly.

Medications

When drugs that cause hearing loss have to be used at levels toxic to the ear, the treating physician will usually arrange for the individual’s hearing to be monitored. The circumstances of their use are usually quite serious, and this may not always be possible (e.g. meningitis/septicaemia etc.) If you are hard of hearing, your treating physician can advise you on your choices.


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