Hearing loss is being partly or totally unable to hear sound in one or both ears.
Symptoms of hearing loss may include:
Other symptoms include:
Feeling of being off-balance or dizzy (more common with Meniere's disease and acoustic neuroma)
Pressure in the ear (in fluid behind the eardrum)
Ringing or buzzing sound in the ears (tinnitus)
- Certain sounds seem too loud
- Difficulty following conversations when two or more people are talking
- Difficulty hearing in noisy areas
- Hard to tell high-pitched sounds (such as "s" or "th") from one another
- Less trouble hearing men's voices than women's voices
- Problems hearing when there is background noise
- Voices that sound mumbled or slurred
Conductive hearing loss (CHL) occurs because of a mechanical problem in the outer or middle ear.
The three tiny bones of the ear (ossicles) may not conduct sound properly.
Or, the eardrum may not vibrate in response to sound.
Birth defects that cause changes in the ear structures
Genetic conditions (more than 400 are known)
Infections the mother passes to her baby in the womb (such as toxoplasmosis, rubella, or herpes)
The ear can also be injured by:
- Pressure differences between the inside and outside of the eardrum, often from scuba diving
- Skull fractures (can damage the structures or nerves of the ear)
- Trauma from explosions, fireworks, gunfire, rock concerts, and earphones