Typically when we think of the reasons why hearing loss occurs, we often think of noise-induced hearing loss (hearing loss due to loud noise) or being born without the ability to hear. While these causes are true, there are other hearing loss diseases that can have the same effect. Conditions that inhibit a person’s ability to hear can affect a person at birth or even later on in life. While not every disease can be prevented, knowing more about some of the diseases that can cause hearing loss can help protect you and your loved ones.
Hearing Loss Diseases: What Conditions Can Cause Hearing Loss?
Caused by abnormal bone growth or abnormal bone remodeling in the ear, otosclerosis is typically inherited, even though isolated cases do occur. A common cause of hearing loss, otosclerosis, causes the three small bones (malleus, incus, and stapes) found in the middle ear to grow abnormally. When this occurs, the bones cannot vibrate in response to sound, which affects your hearing.
Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that causes a person to experience a sensation of fullness in the ear, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, loss of balance, and hearing loss. While the true cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, scientists believe it is caused by deviations of the fluid found in the tubes of the inner ear. The build-up of fluid is believed to cause hearing loss that can come and go while disrupting their balance.
Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder
A rare condition, auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder, is a hearing disorder that causes mild to severe hearing loss due to the inability for the transmission of sound to travel from the inner ear to the brain, even though the inner ear can detect the sound. Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder can occur at any age and to those with no family history of the disorder.
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL)
Sudden deafness, or sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), can cause a person’s hearing to decline over the course of a few days or at once rapidly. A condition that can affect anyone, at any age, sudden deafness typically affects those in their late 40’s to early 50’s and typically only affects one ear. Also, babies can be born with sudden sensorineural hearing loss due to infections, low birth weight, or genetic factors.