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Causes of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss ("Nerve Deafness") -- involves damage to the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by aging, prenatal and birth-related problems, viral and bacterial infections (respiratory infections, measles, scarlet fever, etc.), heredity, trauma, exposure to loud noises, prolonged exposure to noisy environments in the past, and even use of certain drugs. A sensorineural hearing loss is most commonly managed with hearing aids.

"Most people with sensorineural hearing impairment now can be helped to hear better with properly fitted hearing aids," writes Gale Gardner, M.D., world-renowned ear specialist and author of Nerve Deafness and You. Dr. Gardner emphasizes that most --in fact, 95 percent -- of all hearing aid wearers have a sensorineural hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss -- involves the outer and middle ear. Conductive hearing loss can result from a blockage of wax, a punctured eardrum, birth defects, ear infections, or heredity. A conductive hearing loss often can be corrected medically or surgically.

Your hearing healthcare provider can determine which type of hearing loss you have and the necessary steps for you to take by performing a thorough hearing evaluation.

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