Facebook Pixel

Deafness Causes & Risks


Deafness may occur at any age, from birth through old age.

The conditions that can cause or be associated with hearing loss include the following:

  • Ear infections
  • Middle ear fluid
  • Earwax
  • Hole in the ear drum (tympanic membrane perforation)
  • Trauma may cause rupture of the tympanic membrane and disruption of the middle ear ossicles, or concussion of the inner ear
  • Nose or throat problems, such as:
    • Nasal allergies
    • Sinus problems
    • Blockage of the eustachian tubes (tubes leading from the ears to the throat)
  • Hereditary factors
  • Birth defects
  • Noise
  • Ear disorders, such as:
  • Infections, such as:
  • Bacterial infections, such as:
  • Tumors involving the:
    • Ear
    • Brain
  • Neurological disorders, such as:
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage the ear), such as:
    • Aspirin (usually reverses when aspirin is stopped)
    • Quinine (usually reverses when quinine is stopped)
    • Antibiotics: gentamicin, streptomycin, and neomycin (usually is not reversible after stopping drug)

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for deafness include:

  • Premature birth
  • Increasing age, for age-related hearing loss ( presbycusis )
  • Taking ototoxic medications
  • Exposure to loud noise on the job, such as:
    • Loud industrial noise
    • Use of heavy equipment
    • Being a musician
  • Exposure to recreational loud noise, such as:
    • Guns (target practice)
    • Loud music
    • Family history of deafness

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

The Latest in Deafness Causes & Risks

ASK Your Health Question

It's FREE and you'll get a response within 24 hours


POST Info, Tips & Stories

Inspire others to learn from your experiences. Tell your story!

Get Email Updates

Deafness Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!