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Living with Hearing Loss

Marcia B. Dugan

Written in collaboration with Self Help for Hard of Hearing People

Chapter Seven: Causes of Hearing Loss

There are many causes of hearing loss, including

  • heredity
  • accidents
  • diseases such as measles, mumps, and spinal meningitis
  • drugs
  • noise
  • aging
If you recognized your hearing loss when you were fifty-five or older, the most probable cause was age-related hearing loss. Unfortunately, many cases of hearing loss are due to unknown causes. Some of the known causes are explained below.


A large proportion of hearing loss that occurs at birth or in the first few years of life is hereditary. Many types of adult-onset and progressive hearing loss are also hereditary. A hereditary (genetic) hearing loss is sometimes easy to identify from family history; a parent or a sibling also may have a loss. In some families, however, the gene that causes hearing loss is recessive, which means the hearing loss may be passed on by parents, even if they themselves do not have a hearing loss.


Automobile and word-related accidents can result in head injuries. These injuries, in turn, can cause a dramatic hearing loss. It is usually sudden and traumatic.

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