Hearing loss can cause many short and long-term symptoms and effects, including:  


Conditions and Events that Cause Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when tiny hair cells within the inner ear (the cochlea) are damaged. Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and, in most cases, there are no medical or surgical treatment options. Hearing aids are the primary treatment for sensorineural hearing loss. In some situations, such as when hearing aids have not been beneficial for particular patients with severe and profound sensorineural hearing loss, these people may benefit from cochlear implantation. Learn more.

Hidden Hearing Loss

Hidden hearing loss describes hearing loss that cannot be measured by standard hearing tests, even though patients report difficulty hearing, especially in background noise. Learn more.

Genetic Hearing Loss

It is estimated that half of the children born with hearing loss have a genetic cause.1 Genes make up DNA -units of heredity that are passed from parents to children. If a gene does not form normally, it is called a mutation.  Some of these mutations cause hearing loss.

Genetic hearing loss can be the result of non-syndromic or syndromic genetic mutations.

Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection

Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that can infect people of all ages.  It is a member of the herpes virus family. One-third of children are infected by 5 years, and half of the adults are infected by 40 years.1  Usually, there are no signs or symptoms.  In some cases, a mild illness including fever, sore throat, fatigue, and swollen glands may happen. CMV infection is not usually a significant problem except for those with compromised immune systems, or if the infection is passed to a baby before he or she is born.  Infants with congenital CMV may be at risk for long-term health concerns. Learn more.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Approximately 40 million American adults may have hearing loss resulting from noise exposure.1 Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells found in the inner ear. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, which results in permanent hearing loss. Learn more.


The relationship between diabetes and hearing loss has been studied over the years.  Hearing loss is common in patients with diabetes, but the relationship between the two disorders is not clear. Some believe that elevated blood sugar may be damaging the blood vessels and inner ear structures leading to hearing loss. Also, patients with diabetes seem to be more at risk for sudden hearing loss. A sudden change in your hearing requires evaluation by an audiologist and otologist as soon as possible. Learn more.


Finding an Audiologist Near You

The Find an Audiologist Directory of Academy Fellow members can help guide you to a professional near you. Search by symptom, specialty, certification, and location.

Heart Disease

The relationship between heart disease and hearing loss has been studied over the years.  While there is not a direct causal link between heart disease and hearing loss, there is a large body of evidence suggesting a relationship between the two. Learn more.

Vestibular Migraine

Migraine is one of the most common disorders in the world, impacting 16 percent of the world’s population over the course of a lifetime.1 Up to 69 percent of patients with migraine also report at least occasional dizziness.2 Learn more.

Auditory Process Disorders

Auditory processing disorders (APDs) are referred to by many names: central auditory processing disorders, auditory perceptual disorders, and central auditory disorders. APDs affect the auditory areas of the brain. Children and adults with APD often report difficulty hearing in background noise, in rooms that reverberate (echo) and/or other less-than-ideal listening situations.

APD is an audiological diagnosis, and therefore, the audiologist is the professional who generally makes the diagnosis. To properly diagnose APD, special tests need to be administered by an audiologist. Individuals with APD usually pass standard hearing tests because standard hearing tests are designed to test the quietest sounds one can hear. APD may be present with or without hearing loss.

APD is often associated with various learning disabilities. Children with APD experience difficulties in less-than-ideal (noisy) listening situations and may have difficulties with reading, spelling, attention, and language problems. APD is common in older adults, particularly when hearing loss is present. It is likely that many processes and problems contribute to APD in children.

In adults, neurological disorders such as stroke, tumors, degenerative disease (such as multiple sclerosis), and head trauma can contribute to APD.

APD in children and adults often is best managed by a multidisciplinary team of professionals that may include audiologists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, and teachers, to evaluate and treat hearing, language, cognition, and academic issues.

Although APD treatment is usually determined based on the likely cause of APD, a variety of treatment approaches may be recommended. These approaches can include medical treatment, hearing aid amplification, assistive listening devices, auditory training, and special listening strategies. Treatment strategies are usually provided by audiologists, although physicians, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, teachers, and other professionals may be involved.