Must-Know: 10 Leading Causes of Severe Hearing Loss

Severe Hearing Loss Case in MinnesotaNearly 17% (about 36 million) U.S. adults report some degree of hearing loss. This article shares the leading causes of this common chronic physical condition.

Ongoing Exposure to Occupational Noise

About 30 million U.S. workers work in hazardously noisy workplaces. To protect yourself, wear earplugs and try to take breaks from noisy activities.


We progressively lose inner-ear hair cells as we age and this loss often weakens our hearing. We can’t prevent age-related hearing loss, but there are ways to mitigate against this type of hearing loss. Talk to an audiologist about suitable hearing aids and other helpful interventions.

Explosive Noises

Loud and sudden noises such as the powerful sound waves created by firecrackers and gunshots can rupture your eardrum or harm the inner ear.

Headphones and Earbuds

Using headphones or earbuds at loud volume for long durations can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. If you must use these devices, turn down the volume and limit listening time.

Earwax Buildup

Earwax can accumulate and harden leading to a blockage that can affect hearing. See you, doctor, if you think you’ve earwax blockage.

Hearing Loss at Birth

Congenital hearing loss is usually due to genes. Children may also be born with hearing loss if the mother had diabetes, or an infection when pregnant. Premature birth, trauma during birth and neonatal jaundice can also be responsible for hearing loss among children.

Childhood Illness

Childhood illnesses such as chickenpox, influenza, measles, encephalitis, mumps, and meningitis can cause hearing loss. Vaccinations can help protect your child.

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Chronic Disease

Chronic conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease can cause bodily harm that may lead to hearing loss.

Tumors and Growths

Noncancerous growths can block the ear canal, leading to hearing loss. Treatment and removing the growth may help preserve or restore hearing.

Injury or Pressure Changes

Severe head trauma and sudden changes in pressure when flying or scuba diving can cause hearing changes.

Hearing loss is commonly caused by noise, aging, heredity, and disease. Protect your ears from excessive noise and schedule regular visits to your doctor and audiologist.