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Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Symptoms and Causes

Hearing loss is a medical disorder in which the ability to detect certain frequencies of sound is partially or completely impaired. Hearing loss affects nearly 36 million people in the United States.

Hearing Loss Symptoms:

The main symptom is partial or complete hearing loss. The hearing loss may get worse over time with continued exposure. Sometimes hearing loss is accompanied by noise in the ear (tinnitus).

Hearing Loss Causes:

Hearing loss has many causes including:

  • Aging—older people are the largest group affected by hearing loss. The contributors range from excessive noise, drugs, toxins, and heredity. One in three older adults over age 60 has hearing loss. Half of people over age 75 have hearing loss.
  • Middle ear (otis media) infections— the most common cause of hearing loss in children
  • Diseases and disorders that contribute to hearing loss include tinnitus (ringing in the ears), presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) and Usher's syndrome (the most common genetic condition that affects hearing and vision), among others.
  • Work-related (occupational) hearing loss occurs in jobs such as airline ground maintenance, construction, farming and jobs involving loud music or machinery.

Click here to read our Resource Guide for Parents of Children with Hearing Loss