Causes of hearing problems

Temporary loss of hearing can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

  • Ear infections (otitis media)
  • Viral infections such as colds, flu or sinusitis
  • Meningitis
  • Measles
  • Head injuries
  • Chicken pox
  • Mumps
  • Obstructions in the inner or outer ear (such as an excess of wax or fluid); this is known as conductive hearing loss

Congenital hearing loss (hearing loss from birth) may be caused by a number of factors; in most cases, this is genetic but it may also be associated with the mother suffering from German measles (rubella) during pregnancy, maternal diabetes, complications during the pregnancy or premature birth.

Gradual loss of hearing is usually related to ageing or long-term exposure to loud noise; this can initially contribute to tinnitus (ringing in the ears) but will sometimes develop into a loss of hearing; examples of people prone to this condition include musicians, people that work in noisy, loud environments (such as bar staff), people that listen to music at a very loud volume and those that work with machinery that generates a lot of noise (such as civil engineers and builders)

Guide to Hearing and Speech Problems

Hearing and speech

Speech disorders

Causes of hearing problems

Causes of speech problems

How can I tell if my child has hearing problems?

What are the effects of hearing loss on development?

Getting help for hearing problems

Getting help for speech problems

Protecting your hearing

Hearing Test