Skip to content

    Hearing Loss

    Hearing Loss

    (continued)

    Causes of Hearing Loss continued...

    Sudden hearing loss, the rapid loss of 30 decibels or more of hearing ability, can happen over several hours or days. (A normal conversation is 60 decibels.) In nine out of 10 cases, sudden hearing loss affects only one ear. Though there are about 4,000 new cases of sudden hearing loss a year, the cause can only be found in 10% to 15% of cases.

    Certain illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, put ears at risk by interfering with the ears' blood supply. Otosclerosis is a bone disease of the middle ear and Ménière's disease affects the inner ear. Both can cause hearing loss.

    Trauma, especially that which involves a skull fracture or punctured eardrum, puts ears at serious risk for hearing loss.

    Infection or ear waxcan block ear canals and reduce hearing.

    Symptoms of Hearing Loss

    In many cases, hearing fades so slowly, its departure goes unnoticed. You may think that people are mumbling more, your spouse needs to speak up, and the telephone is an inferior communication device. As long as some sound still comes in, you may assume your hearing is fine.

    At the early stage of hearing loss, high-pitched sounds, such as children's and female voices, and the sounds "S" and "F" become harder to decipher. Other symptoms of hearing loss include:

    • Trouble understanding phone conversations
    • Trouble hearing above background noise
    • Trouble following a conversation when more than one person speaks at once
    • Perception that people are not speaking clearly or mumbling
    • Often misunderstanding what people say and responding inappropriately
    • Often having to ask people to repeat themselves
    • Frequent complaints by others that the TV is too loud
    • Ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds in the ears, known as tinnitus

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Next Article:

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    handful of vegetables and vitamins
    Diet tips and mistakes.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    woman having a good day
    Revitalize your life.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.