There are many reasons people experience hearing loss. Here are the main contributors.
Aging is the most common form of hearing loss. Over time, the hair cells in the inner ear begin to degenerate, causing deterioration of hearing. Hearing loss resulting from aging is permanent, which is why it is recommended for individuals 55+ to begin scheduling annual hearing tests.
Occupational noises, as well as recreational noise, both contribute to permanent hearing loss. Individuals working in factories, construction, power plants, or farms can be exposed to loud noises for long periods of time. This can lead to permanent hearing loss if hearing protection devices are not worn consistently.
Individuals exposing themselves to loud recreational noises (e.g, gunshots and firearms) can cause instant, permanent hearing loss depending on how close they are to the sound, and the associated decibel level.
Other loud recreational activities can include: motorcycling, snowmobiling, attending clubs and concerts. All these activities contribute to inner ear deterioration over time.
Heredity plays a role in hearing loss; family history may result in an individual being more prone to acquiring hearing loss at any age.
Certain medications are ototoxic, meaning they can cause damage to the structures in the inner ear. For example, certain chemotherapy drugs are ototoxic.
Certain diseases, such as meningitis, can cause hearing loss. There is also research to suggest that individuals with diabetes may also acquire hearing loss.