Conditions and Events that Cause Hearing Loss
Auditory Processing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are likely to seek help from an audiologist at some point in their communication journey. Those with IDDs have been diagnosed with disorders that affect one’s physical, intellectual, and/or emotional development, 1 which may affect one’s ability to communicate. It is important for the audiologist to determine if hearing loss may be among the disorders for someone with an IDD and to treat the hearing loss accordingly.
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.
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.
Unilateral Hearing Loss
Hearing loss that affects only one ear is known as unilateral hearing loss (UHL). This hearing loss can range in degree from mild to profound. Occasionally, unilateral hearing loss is referred to as minimal hearing loss, as the presence of one normal hearing ear allows for minimal effects on speech and language development; however, it should be noted that even when hearing loss is only in one ear, it can have significant impacts on a person’s day-to-day life.
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