Hearing Loss and Deafness
Deafness means complete hearing loss. Partial loss of hearing is often called hearing loss rather than deafness. Deafness can occur in one or both ears.
There are three primary types of hearing loss:
- Conductive—hearing loss caused by the inability of the sound to reach the inner ear
- Sensorineural—hearing loss caused by disorders of the inner ear or auditory nerve. This type of loss is usually permanent.
- Mixed—hearing losses that are a combination of both conductive and sensorineural loss
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The conditions that can cause or be associated with hearing loss include the following:
- Ear infections
- Middle ear fluid
- Hole in the ear drum
- Trauma, including birth trauma
Nose or throat problems, such as:
- Nasal allergies
- Sinus problems
- Blockage of the tubes leading from the ears to the throat
- Family history
- Ear disorders, such as:
Infections, such as:
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections, such as:
Tumors involving the:
- Neurological disorders, such as:
- Hypothyroidism —underactive thyroid
Ototoxic drugs that damage the ear, such as:
- Aspirin—usually reverses when aspirin is stopped
- Quinine—usually reverses when quinine is stopped
- Certain antibiotics—usually is not reversible when stopped
Last reviewedAugust 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.