Hearing loss can have a significant effect on your quality of life. Older adults with hearing loss may report feelings of depression. Because hearing loss can make conversation difficult, some people experience feelings of isolation. Hearing loss is also associated with cognitive impairment and decline. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. The cause may be earwax buildup, fluid, or a punctured eardrum. Medical treatment or surgery can usually restore conductive hearing loss.
There are other causes described below. Hearing loss may happen by itself or with tinnitus, or ringing in your ears. Some causes of hearing loss in adults include: Otosclerosis. This is a middle ear disease. It makes it harder for the tiny bones in the middle ear to move. It causes a conductive hearing loss. This condition is often treated with surgery. It is typically harder to hear high-pitched tones (women's voices, violins) than low-pitched ones (men's voices, bass guitar). Hearing loss usually occurs gradually over a period of years. The person may not realize that he or she has difficulty hearing. Other causes — There are more than different causes of hearing loss in adults. The most common reversible causes are severe buildup of earwax in the ear canal and acute infections of the external .