Symptoms and Signs of Hearing Loss

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 8/30/2021

Doctor's Notes on Hearing Loss

There are two basic types of hearing loss, conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing losses result from physical problems with the movement of sound waves through the ear. An example is blockage of the ear canal that may be caused by wax build-up, blood, or a foreign body. Other types of conductive hearing loss may be caused by perforated eardrums or ear infections. Sensorineural causes of hearing loss are damage to the hair cells or nerves that sense sound waves. Sensorineural hearing loss may be caused by trauma, medications, infections, and aging. Hearing loss may be unilateral (only 1 ear) or bilateral (both ears). Unilateral hearing loss is most often associated with conductive causes, trauma, and acoustic neuromas.

Hearing loss may be gradual or sudden, mild or severe. Hearing loss may be associated with other symptoms such as

What is the Treatment for Hearing Loss?

The best treatment for hearing loss is to prevent it in the first place. Use of ear protection, earplugs, and avoidance of loud noises (especially repetitive noise) are all ways to help preserve your hearing. 

Once hearing loss occurs, it can sometimes be treated but in most cases the hearing loss is permanent. 

Treatments for hearing loss may include:

  • Hearing aids are the most common treatment to restore hearing
  • In some cases, placement of cochlear implants and surgery may cure conductive hearing loss
  • Learning to cope with the condition, such as learning sign language or lip reading to help communicate 

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