1300 209 826


Rate this article:

Types and causes of hearing loss.

Find out what could be causing your problem.

Different types of hearing loss

The human ear is a marvellous organ. It’s parts include the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear and the auditory nerve. Hearing loss can be due to problems in any of these areas.

Depending on the type of hearing loss, your symptoms may include tinnitus, noise sensitivity or dizziness. Hearing loss is almost always permanent, and it’s hard to predict how it will develop. The treatment or correction of hearing loss by technical means (e.g. using hearing aids) depends on what causes your hearing loss in the first place.

"Not being able to see isolates you from objects. Not being able to hear isolates you from people." Immanuel Kant

The outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear

Did you know?

Hearing loss isn’t always age-related. It can also be caused by loud noise, infection, poisoning, injury or genetic factors. Read more interesting facts about hearing and hearing loss.

What’s causing my hearing loss?

A list of possible causes of hearing loss for each area of the ear.

Inner Ear

Outer Ear

Middle Ear

  • Inner Ear
  • Outer Ear
  • Middle Ear

Poisoning of the nerve cells (ototoxicity)

"Ototoxicity" means a harmful substance (for example, certain drugs) caused damage to your inner ear. This usually affects special sensory cells or nerves related to hearing and balance.

Treatment: Since nerve cells are affected, ototoxicity usually leads to permanent damage. A hearing aid can be beneficial to someone with this type of hearing loss.

Acoustic trauma

Acoustic trauma occurs when a very loud noise damages the inner ear (e.g. a car backfire or an explosion). Symptoms include feeling like your ears are blocked, hearing loss, and/or tinnitus.

Treatment: Normally, hearing may be restored within hours or days. Permanent damage is possible. A hearing aid is beneficial in these kinds of situations.

Age-related hearing loss (presbyacusis)

Age-related hearing loss starts for most people between the age of 45 to 65 and can be worsened by external factors (loud noises, etc.). It usually affects high frequency noise and typically occurs in both ears. Age-related hearing loss is caused by damage to special cells (fine hair cells) in the part of your ear called the cochlea. This results in reduced sound signal transmission to the auditory nerve.

Treatment: This problem can’t be fixed by drug therapy or surgery. A hearing aid can make a big difference for someone with this type of hearing loss.