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Sensorineural hearing loss – this happens when there is damage to the inner ear or to the pathway between your inner ear and your brain. You may have a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss – this is known as mixed hearing loss. If you have a bacterial infection of your middle ear, it can sometimes be treated with antibiotics. If your outer or middle ears are blocked by ear wax or fluid caused by an ear infection, a nurse will often be able to remove the blockage with a syringe after it has been softened. If there is no cure for your hearing loss, for example if it’s caused by ageing, a hearing aid for one or both of your ears may help.
If a hearing aid doesn’t help (eg in profound deafness), your doctor may suggest you have a cochlear implant. Get a picture of your current health and potential future health risks with a Bupa health assessment. Otosclerosis – bone growth in the middle ear, which causes the ossicles of your middle ear to become fixed. Perforated (pierced) eardrum, which can be caused by an untreated ear infection, a head injury or from poking something in your ear. The causes of conductive hearing loss can often be treated, so it’s usually only temporary.
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) – a natural decline in your hearing as a result of damage that occurs to your cochlea as a part of the ageing process. Regular exposure to loud noises, for example if you work in a noisy place or listen to a lot of loud music. Meniere's disease – a condition that affects your inner ear, causing dizziness and tinnitus, as well as leading to hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent as once the hair cells in your cochlea are damaged, they can’t be repaired.
Most people get a certain amount of hearing loss as they get older, but you can try to protect your hearing as much as possible by looking after your ears and reducing how much time you spend in noisy places. As you get older, your hearing will probably get worse – this is known as presbyacusis. This type of damage to your hearing is difficult to prevent: more than half of people over 60 in the UK have some degree of hearing loss. Certain medicines, such as diuretics, and conditions, such as osteoporosis, may contribute to hearing loss – speak to your GP about how these may affect your hearing.
Loud noises, especially when you’re around them for long periods of time, can damage your hearing. According to the World Health Organization, noise-induced hearing loss is the main cause of permanent hearing loss worldwide.
Your employer should provide ear protection, usually earplugs or earmuffs, for you to wear to help prevent damage to your hearing. Make sure you attend hearing tests provided by your employer, as they may pick up any problems with your hearing early on. My child is having trouble hearing - what could be causing it and is it likely to be permanent?
It’s likely that your child has temporary hearing loss caused by an ear infection or illness.
If your child is having trouble hearing and has earache or discharge from his or her ear, he or she may have a middle-ear infection.
Your child may have temporary hearing loss caused by fluid collecting behind his or her eardrum – this is known as glue ear.
Although your child’s hearing loss is probably temporary, in some children it can become permanent. If you think your baby or child is having trouble hearing, visit your GP who will test your child’s hearing.


This type of loss is due to the inability of sound to pass through the outer and middle ear. This type of hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the cochlea (inner ear) or to the auditory nerve that goes to the brain. Without amplification, the child can hear most conversations up close and in quiet environments, but is likely to miss parts of words. Until recently, children with unilateral hearing loss did not have their hearing loss detected until they were in school.
The audiogram is a graph that represents how loud a sound at a specific pitch has to be for the child to hear the sound. Configuration of hearing loss - is the shape of the hearing loss due to the amount of hearing loss at each frequency. Most of these people are over 60 and have lost their hearing gradually as part of the natural ageing process. You may start to notice you find it difficult to hear and understand people when you're in a noisy place.
Always ask your GP for advice and read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine. This is a device that turns sounds into electrical signals, which directly stimulate your auditory nerve allowing you to hear.
This type of hearing loss is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in your ear, which help sound to travel to your brain. See your GP if you have earache, deafness or any painful discharge so this can be treated properly. If you work in a noisy place, wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your ears and try to keep the volume of any music you listen to as low as possible.
If you work in a noisy place, such as a factory, building site or nightclub, your hearing can be damaged gradually. Middle ear infections are very common, particularly in young children – three-quarters of middle ear infections occur in children under 10. If your child has had meningitis and is now having hearing problems, visit your GP for advice. The sound is prevented from passing through the middle ear due to a blockage such as wax, a foreign object in the ear canal, infection in the middle ear or malformation of the pinna, ear canal or middle ear bones. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically corrected therefore this damage is permanent.
There is a problem with the outer and middle ear and damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve. The possible effects of a hearing loss depends on degree of loss, early identification services, amplification, and parent involvement.
If loss is from birth, spoken language and speech may not develop spontaneously, or could be severely delayed unless modifications and interventions are taken.
The child may rely on vision rather than hearing as the primary means for communication and learning.
Now, with newborn hearing screening, unilateral hearing loss is detected during the first months of life.
Usually frequencies of 250-8000 Hz are used in testing because this range represents where normal conversation speech occures, although the human ear can detect pitches from 20-20,000 Hz. Hearing loss can also be very sudden, for example if it’s caused by a viral infection of the inner ear.
Your GP may do a hearing test, or he or she may refer you to either an otolaryngologist (a doctor who specialises in ear, nose and throat disorders), an audiologist (a specialist in hearing) or an audiovestibular physician (a doctor who specialises in hearing, balance and communication problems). Many different types of hearing aid are available, and your audiologist will advise you as to which type best suits your needs. You may find that you have difficulty hearing people speak in noisy places and on the telephone, and find trying to keep up with a group conversation difficult and tiring.


You may find that you have a ringing in your ears or that your hearing is muffled after you leave work. If your child has lost his or her hearing and is complaining of earache, he or she may have this condition.
Your child will have a hearing test soon after he or she is born (the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme), which should pick up any problems early on. A conductive hearing loss is usually correctable through medical management such as surgery, medication, or removal of the obstruction.
Proper amplification and intervention should enable the child to hear and recognize most sounds.
With early and consistent use of hearing aids, many children will be able to detect sounds such as speech. Speech and oral language will not develop spontaneously without modifications and intervention. This vibration is passed on to your middle ear, which consists of three small bones called ossicles. Movement of these hair cells produces electrical signals that travel along the auditory nerve to your brain, where they are converted into meaningful information, such as language or music. Some people find that their hearing loss is associated with a continual ringing in their ears (tinnitus).
These are both signs that your hearing has been affected by the loud noises around you, so if you have these symptoms, speak to your employer in the first instance.
The child is at risk for significant delays in spoken language speech understanding, language comprehension and voice quality. Spoken language is significantly delayed, abnormal speech patterns may develop and voice quality is usually diminished.
If you have an infection, you may have some other symptoms, such as earache and discharge from your ears. May have difficulty understanding spoken conversations coming from the side of the head that has the hearing loss.
If you, or your friends and family, think that your hearing is getting gradually worse, see your GP. Your doctor will whisper a combination of numbers and letters from behind you and ask you to repeat the combination to check if you can hear anything.
For example, you may have started to notice that you have difficulty hearing what is being said when you are in a group. The audiometer produces sounds of different volumes and frequencies, and you will be asked to indicate when you hear the sounds in the headphones. The level at which you can’t hear the sound of a certain frequency is known as your threshold. This test is used to measure your cochlear function by recording signals produced by the hair cells. This test measures the activity of your cochlea, auditory nerve and brain when a sound is heard. If one ear is hearing better than the other, your doctor may organise a scan – usually an MRI scan. This is to rule out rare causes of hearing loss such as an acoustic neuroma or cholesteatoma.



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