7 Medical Conditions That Can Cause Hearing Problems

7 Medical Conditions That Can Cause Hearing Problems

Did you know that approximately 37.5 million adults in America suffer from significant hearing loss? It’s one of the most common conditions that people face because there are so many contributing factors.

For the most part, doctors and researchers understand many of the possible hearing loss causes, but they are still conducting research to figure out all possible causes as well as how to treat and prevent hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Old Age

Today, we’re going to take a look at seven medical conditions that cause hearing loss. We’ll split these conditions into two groups: non-hereditary and hereditary hearing loss in adults.  

Inherited Hearing Loss Causes

Genetic mutations can increase someone’s likelihood of experiencing some degree of hearing loss – especially when hearing loss is caused due to age. Examples of inherited conditions that can cause hearing loss include:

  • Usher’s Syndrome – Someone who has this condition is born with hearing loss to some degree. The severity of the hearing loss will vary from one person to the next. Right now, medical professionals believe there are two primary forms of Usher’s Syndrome: one is categorized as having profound deafness and poor balance, while the other causes the person to suffer from only partial hearing loss.
  • Otosclerosis – This condition is a common cause of progressive hearing loss in young adults and it is caused by an abnormal growth of the bone located in the ears. In many instances a surgical procedure can restore one’s hearing.
  • Pendred Syndrome – This condition is a very rare genetic disorder that is characterized by causing severe to profound hearing impairment, as well as malformation of some bones in the inner ear. Pendred syndrome is result of a problematic thyroid. In many cases, those who inherit this syndrome will show signs of hearing loss at birth, but it is possible that the syndrome will become more evident in early childhood.

​Non-Inherited Hearing Loss Causes

In this section, we will discuss the medical conditions that cause hearing loss in adults that are not inherited. Keep in mind that these are not the only medical conditions that cause hearing loss, but they are the most common causes.

  • Acoustic Neuroma – This condition is also known as Vestibular Schwanoma and it is a non-cancerous tumor or growth located on the auditory nerve located near the cochlea. The tumor grows slowly but it can cause hearing loss in the ear that is affected. There are microsurgical procedures that can remove these tumors, but acoustic neuroma usually results in profound hearing loss whichever ear is infected.
  • Cholesteatoma – This condition is a type of skin cyst located in the middle ear and it can be present at birth. However, most instances of cholesteatoma occur as a result of a complication due to chronic ear infections. When the cyst gets larger and infected, it can have negative affects on hearing, balance, and even affect facial muscle movement.
  • Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct – The vestibular aqueduct are bony canals that travel from someone’s inner ear to the deepest parts of the skill. When one of these canals are enlarged, the endolymphatic duct and sac will grow too. While researches aren’t entirely sure what the endolymphatic duct and sac are for, they believe they are to regulate how many irons are in the fluid in one’s inner ear.
  • Meniere’s Disease – This is an inner ear disorder that can affects balance and hearing. Those who suffer from dizzy spells (vertigo), ringing in the ear (tinnitus), pressure or pain in the ear, and hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent. The cause of Meniere’s disease is believed to be related to a fluid imbalance in the inner ear, but the exact cause is still unknown.
  • Meningitis – Meningitis can be a viral or bacterial infection that will cause the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed and swell. Not only can meningitis cause hearing loss, but the medications that are used to treat it can also cause hearing loss, as they are ototoxic (have toxic effects on the ear and its nerves).

​Final Thoughts on Hearing Loss Causes

Hearing loss isn’t the same thing for everyone, nor is it caused by one singular cause – it’s a complex problem with causes that can be inherited, like Usher’s Syndrome, or it could be caused by chronic ear infections or meningitis.

When someone experiences profound hearing loss, it’s easy to recognize because there will be a big difference in hearing, but it’s the mild hearing loss that often goes undetected. 

If you’ve ever noticed that you or someone you love always has the television or radio turned up really loudly or ask for you to repeat what you said a few times, they may be suffering from some degree of hearing loss.

Young Hearing Loss

If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, you will want to go to your doctor as soon as you can. There, your doctor will use a little hand-held instrument called an otoscope to examine your ear.

They will look at the ear canal to make sure it isn’t blocked and you don’t have an ear infection. They may even use a tuning fork to determine whether your hearing loss is conductive (sounds cannot get into the inner ear) or sensorineural (permanent damage to the inner ear). 

Once your doctor has diagnosed you, will have options on how to treat it. For those with sensorineural hearing loss, people will be outfitted with some type of hearing aid. For those with conductive hearing loss, their hearing loss may be treated by removing whatever is blocking the ear canal, such as wax or fluid.

Hearing Aids BG

To learn more about hearing aids, please check out this in-depth guide. The more you understand about hearing loss and what your options are, the better you’ll be able to communicate your concerns to your doctor.

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