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Causes of Hearing Loss

What Makes People Deaf

By

Updated May 16, 2014

Picture of parts of the ear

Parts of the Ear

Photo © A.D.A.M.
Hearing loss has so many causes it would be impossible to list them all here. In some cases, hearing loss is just one of the effects of a condition such as a syndrome. Some causes of hearing loss are genetic. Additional causes are neither syndromic nor genetic. Plus, some people lose their hearing later in life.

Causes of Hearing Loss in Children

Babies and young children are often born with, or acquire, hearing loss early in childhood. What are the top causes of deafness in children?

Hearing Loss as Part of the Package

Sometimes hearing loss is only one aspect of a group of conditions. People who have hearing loss as a result of one of these causes, may have only hearing loss or they may have hearing loss plus other symptoms.

BOR Syndrome
BOR syndrome involves hearing loss, a mutated gene, and the risk of kidney problems.

CHARGE Syndrome
A look at this relatively rare syndrome that affects the eyes, ears, and the heart, and the resources available to parents of diagnosed children.

Congenital Cytomegalovirus
Congenital cytomegalovirus is one of the more common causes of hearing loss, and is almost as damaging as rubella (see below).

Goldenhar Syndrome
A look at this fairly rare facial disorder, which has hearing loss as one of its many characteristics.

Growing Up Deaf - Rubella
Rubella syndrome made me deaf. This article is part of the Growing Up Deaf series at About.com Deafness.

Treacher Collins Syndrome
Treacher Collins is a relatively rare disorder that causes both hearing loss and facial disfigurement.

Usher Syndrome
Usher syndrome can cause a person to be deaf and/or can cause a loss of vision too.

Waardenburg Syndrome
Waardenburg Syndrome is one of the more unusual genetic causes of deafness, affecting the eyes and hair as well as the ears.

Genetic Causes of Hearing Loss

In the deaf and hard of hearing community, people say "deaf of deaf," or DOD, to refer to people who were born deaf to deaf parents. Other times, a child may be born deaf because of a genetic trait that their hearing parents carry.

Genetics and Hearing Loss
Genetic research into deafness and hearing loss is often in the news these days, with exciting progress being made.

Connexin 26
Sometimes when the cause of hearing loss in a child is unknown, it is later found to be caused by Connexin 26.

Drug-Induced Causes of Hearing Loss

Certain drugs can cause hearing loss. In less developed countries, the rate of hearing loss can be high because of the use of these drugs due to the lack of better alternatives.

Ototoxicity
Learn about ototoxicity and ototoxic drugs.

Losing Hearing Later in Life

Some causes of hearing loss primarily affect adults or teenagers.

Meniere's Disease
Meniere's Disease, which includes hearing loss among its symptoms, can be difficult to live with, but there is no shortage of people to turn to for support.

Noise
Loud noise is known to be a major cause of hearing loss in people of all ages. One example is bombing, and another is loud music which teenagers are often exposed to.

Otosclerosis
This hearing loss-related condition can be treated with surgery.

Presbycusis (or Age-Related Hearing Loss)
As we age, we are at greater risk for hearing loss.

Sudden Deafness
Sometimes the hearing loss happens all of a sudden, without warning. People can go to bed hearing and wake up deaf.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) affects the jaw and can cause hearing loss.

Other Causes of Hearing Loss

These are some miscellaneous causes of hearing loss. These causes are not genetic, nor are they syndromic.

Acoustic Neurinoma
Acoustic neurinoma is a lesser known cause of hearing loss.

Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease (AIED)
Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease is examined in this feature. Forum members also have discussed AIED.

Auditory Neuropathy
Auditory Neuropathy is a condition in which a "hearing" person can not hear.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder
Central Auditory Processing Disorder is a disorder that affects the ability to process sound.

Cholesteatoma
Cholesteatomas are growths in the ear that can cause hearing loss.

Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome
Enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome, also known as LVAS, is a fairly common condition causing hearing loss.

Glue Ear
Glue ear usually causes temporary conductive hearing loss.

Injuries
It is possible for hearing loss to result from an injury to the ear, particularly the eardrum.

Meningitis
Meningitis is a deadly illness, and if certain drugs are used to treat it, the patient can be left deaf.

Mondini Syndrome
A malformation of the cochlea, causing hearing losses of varying degrees.

Mumps
The mumps are best known for puffy cheeks, but less well known is the fact it can cause hearing loss.

Readers Respond: Varied Causes of Hearing Loss

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