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Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

Causes of Hearing Loss

The Ageing Process: The main cause of hearing loss is something which we all have to come to terms with - ageing. One in ten people suffer some hearing loss but for those over the age of 50 it is one in five. Wear and tear on the inner ear and deterioration of the inner ear's hair cells means that certain sounds become inaudible. The onset of hearing loss may result in any of the following symptoms:

  • You keep asking people to repeat what they say.
  • You may have difficulty hearing high pitched sounds.
  • You may have difficulty understanding conversation because consonants are high pitched and vowels are low pitched.
  • You may suffer none of these but may have problems hearing in crowds or when there is background noise e.g. traffic, television, children playing in the same room
  • Sounds cannot be placed - you are unsure if they are from behind or in front of you.

Medical Causes

Temporary hearing loss may be caused by wax build-up or the onset of Meniere's disease, an inner ear condition that can cause dizziness and tinnitus. Both should be treated by a doctor and if symptoms persist, advice should be sought from a hearing care consultant. You may suffer a loss of hearing after a severe cold or perhaps an aeroplane journey and although you should recover it is advisable to seek professional advice if you are concerned.

Tinnitus - a ringing sound in the ears - can sometimes be loud enough to interfere with everyday life and a doctor's advice should always be sought. A special hearing aid can help mask this problem.


Over time, noise causes irreversible damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea and although a hearing aid will help get the very best from the remaining hearing, it can never be totally restored. Most people are aware that loud sounds can damage their hearing, but you may be surprised at the everyday noises which can also cause harm.