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What are the common causes of hearing loss in adults?

Some of the most common causes of hearing loss include:

  • Aging
  • Excessive noise exposure
  • Injury
  • Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
  • Wax buildup
  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)
  • Genetics

Hearing loss can occur at any time during your lifespan. No matter the cause of your hearing loss, you can benefit from getting your hearing checked by a hearing care specialist.

Hearing loss types

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Do you think you have hearing loss?

Complete the steps below. Use the form below or quote the 'Audika' website when booking your appointment. All fields required.

Question 1 – Around the table
Do you have trouble following conversations, when there are 4 or more people present?
Have you received advice from your family or friends to get your hearing tested?
Do you ever struggle to understand what others are saying because you cannot hear properly?
Do you find yourself turning up the TV or radio even when the volume is loud enough for others?

Your Result:

A hearing test is relevant for you

Your answers indicate that you experience symptoms of hearing loss. We strongly recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics. 

Book your free hearing test:

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.

Your Result:

A hearing test seems relevant for you

Your answers indicate that you experience some symptoms of hearing loss. We recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics. 

Book your free hearing test:

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.

Your Result:

It cannot be determined here if a hearing test is relevant for you

Your answers do not indicate that you experience symptoms of hearing loss. However, if you experience trouble hearing, we recommend booking a hearing test in one of our clinics.

Book your free hearing test:

The result is an indication. An in-person hearing test can determine if you have a hearing loss.

Step 1 of 5

Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis)

Age is a very common cause of hearing loss. It is caused by changes in the inner ear that occur as you grow older. Additionally, genes and loud noise can also play a big role. When your hearing starts to weaken, it becomes more difficult to:

  • Hear soft voices
  • Hear high-frequency sounds (voices of children and women)
  • Follow conversations in the presence of background noise.

Because the loss is gradual, you may not realize that you’ve lost some of your ability to hear.

Age related hearing loss

Image shows audiologist examing ear of a man whose hearing loss was caused by aging

Noise-induced hearing loss

Repeated exposure to high levels of noise is another common cause of hearing loss. If you are exposed to loud noise for too long, the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear become damaged, and your ability to hear clearly can be compromised.

Some people have a higher risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss when they are regularly exposed to loud noise. Listening to excessively loud music at live concerts (or through headphones) can be another cause of hearing damage.

Noise induced hearing loss

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Congenital hearing loss

Congenital hearing loss means that a baby is born with a hearing problem. The baby's hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors including genetic defects, infections during pregnancy or low birth weight.

When compared to all causes of hearing loss, congenital hearing loss is quite rare: about 1% of babies are born with hearing loss1.

Protect your ears in loud environments

It is very important to protect your ears in these situations by limiting exposure to loud sounds (when possible) or by wearing high-quality and well fitted ear plugs or earmuffs.
Image shows people having conversations outside
1. Loud background noise
Any environment where you need to raise your voice to make yourself heard over background noise or where very loud momentary or repetitive sounds are occurring
Image shows man working with a loud tool
2. Impact of noise exposure 
Can cause permanent hearing loss and depends on how loud it is and how long you are exposed without a break
Image shows a concert scene
3. Live music
Noise damage can occur anywhere, for example concerts or festivals where the sound levels are very high, especially if your ears ring afterwards
Image shows a hand holding an invisible hearing aid.

Did you know?

Today’s hearing aids are more technologically advanced and smaller than ever.

Some hearing aids can be virtually invisible and yet offer excellent sound quality - even in difficult listening situations.

Others can also be connected to your smartphone (or other smart devices) in order to stream sound directly to your hearing aids.

Invisible hearing aids

Image shows an audiologist talking to a person with hearing loss  in front of a screen showing an audiogram

Options for dealing with hearing loss

Fortunately, there is help available regardless of the cause of your hearing loss. Understanding the source of your issues gives our hearing care experts insight into your needs.

 

While there is a wide range of possible causes and treatments for hearing loss, many cases of hearing loss can be assisted by hearing aids. Your hearing care expert can explain the best options for you after you have completed a hearing test.

 

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FAQ about causes of hearing loss

Nimi Daya Naran head shot
Nimi Daya Naran - Audiologist and Head of Medical Services & Graduate Development ANZ
 BA(Psych), M.Clin.Aud., MAudSA(CCP)

Nimi is an experienced Audiologist whose clinical career and dedication to the Audiology industry has afforded her many opportunities, where she has had the ability to specialise in paediatrics, adult rehabilitation, complex adult rehabilitation and tinnitus. Through these specialities she recognised her passion for clinical excellence and educating others. 

Today, she draws on that experience in her work as the Head of Medical Services and Graduate Development. Her current role allows her to raise hearing health awareness amongst general practitioners. As well as contribute to the development of clinicians in their early career, to ensure they have a strong clinical foundation as they begin their journey in the Audiology industry. She has also developed initiatives to improve clinical service delivery and client care. More recently she has established the Audika Specialist Referral Network, an initiative to ensure clients who could benefit from implantable technology are given access to these services. As well as ensuring these clients are supported throughout their implant journey.  

Sources

1. https://www.babyhearing.org/genetic-hearing-loss-faq