Hearing loss can result from a variety of causes, including:
Exposure to loud noise. Noise-induced hearing loss can be permanent, and it usually develops gradually and painlessly. However, a single exposure to an extremely loud sound, such as an explosion, can cause immediate hearing loss.
Physical injury. Traumatic brain injury, concussion, skull fractures, a hole in the ear drum, or damage to the middle ear structures can contribute to, or cause, hearing loss.
Ototoxic medications. Some drugs can cause hearing loss in certain scenarios. Common drugs known to be ototoxic are aminoglycoside antibiotics, aspirin, oral narcotics in combination with acetaminophen, loop diuretics, and drugs used in chemotherapy regimens.
Illness or disease. A number of different conditions and diseases can also lead to hearing loss. For example, Ménière’s disease affects the inner ear and symptoms include hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, and sensitivity to loud sounds. Other diseases and chronic conditions include otosclerosis, autoimmune inner ear disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Infection, obstructions, or abnormalities. Ear infections, obstructions, abnormalities, or dysfunctions can result in hearing impairments. Allergies and other sino-nasal problems can restrict adequate fresh air getting to the middle ear space and cause acute or chronic conditions, leading to hearing loss.