Hearing loss affects almost a third of the population at some point in their lives, although it’s more common in older people. Your hearing function is complex and can be affected in various ways. To find out what might be causing your hearing loss, look at the most common causes.


The vast majority of people who experience hearing loss do so because of their age. Your hearing function can naturally deteriorate over time, so age-related hearing loss is extremely common. 

When the sensory cells inside the cochlea are subjected to general wear and tear, they begin to function less effectively. This results in gradual hearing loss, which may become more noticeable as you get older. Often affecting both ears, age-related hearing loss can be successfully treated with hearing aids. An audiologist can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to minimize the impact of hearing loss associated with aging.


If your ear is injured, it could have an impact on your hearing function. Similarly, if the nerves in or around the ear are damaged, it may prevent them from transporting signals to your brain. If so, your hearing function may be affected, and you could experience hearing loss. 

Exposure to loud noises

A sudden, isolated loud noise can cause a certain degree of trauma and may result in temporary or permanent hearing loss. Although temporary hearing loss often disappears over time, permanent hearing loss cannot typically be rectified.

However, you may experience hearing loss as a result of exposure to relatively loud noises over a long period of time. If you work in a noisy environment, this could lead to hearing problems and loss of hearing function. In order to prevent this, it’s important to consult your audiologist and use properly fitted hearing protection.

Infections and illnesses

Common illnesses can often have a temporary impact on your hearing, but some health problems can cause permanent hearing loss too. A severe viral infection, such as mumps or measles, may cause a permanent loss of hearing function. Similarly, shingles and meningitis can cause hearing loss, in some instances. In addition to this, diabetes can sometimes cause hearing complications, particularly if it is left untreated for some time. 

By seeking treatment for health issues as quickly as possible, you can minimize the risk of complications, such as hearing loss. 

Ototoxic drugs

Some medications can have a negative impact on your hearing function. Often, this effect is temporary and can be alleviated by switching to an alternative type of medication. Before prescribing medication, which can have an ototoxic effect, your physician should discuss the possible risks involved and weigh up the pros and cons of the treatment in question. 

Excessive wax

Although the hearing loss caused by a build-up of wax is usually temporary, it can be unnerving when it occurs. Despite being one of the most common causes of hearing loss, your hearing function can usually be resolved by having the excess wax removed from your ear canal.