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Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, occurring in 23% of population older than 65 years of age.
Infections, such as meningitis, are a common cause of hearing loss in children where it occurs in approximately 20% of those with streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis (Heckenberg et al 2011).
Noise induced hearing loss is a permanent hearing impairment resulting from prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. Children who are born prematurely or contract certain infections in utero are at a higher risk of hearing loss (Hille et al 2007, Roizen 2003).
While very unusual, acoustic neuromas or metastatic cancer (particularly breast) can be a source of hearing loss.
Sudden hearing loss (SHL) is defined as greater than 30 dB hearing reduction, over at least three contiguous frequencies, occurring over 72 hours or less.
Sensory presbyacusis is caused by loss of sensory elements in the basal (high-frequency) end of the cochlea with preservation of neurons. Cochlear conductive presbyacusis is caused by thickening of the basilar membrane caused by deposition of basophilic substance. Because presbycusis occurs in some individuals as they age but not in others, genetic or environmental factors must also play a role in its development (Liu & Yan 2007).
In conductive hearing loss, the second most common form of hearing loss, sound is not transmitted into the inner ear.
Images marked as copyright Northwestern University were developed with the support of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to Northwestern University Dept.
The American Hearing Research Foundation is a non-profit foundation that funds research into hearing loss and balance disorders related to the inner ear and is also committed to educating the public about these health issues. Deafness in young animals is a problem affecting over 60 breeds of dogs as well as white-coated cats. Although it is not usually difficult to recognise a bilaterally deaf pet, it can be very difficult to detect unilateral deafness.
Indications for performing the BAER test include early litter screening in breeds where deafness is a problem, detection of acoustic neuromas and posterior fossa tumours and  intraoperative monitoring during brain surgery. Disruption of IHC stereocilia and loss of OHC in the basal turn of the cochlea following noise exposure (90 dBA noise for 8 hours) 6 months earlier.


Disruption of OHC stereocilia following administration of the aminoglycoside antibiotic kanamycin. The outer ear includes the auricle, the external auditory canal, and the lateral surface of the tympanic membrane (TM). Postmeningitic hearing loss can be due to lesions of the cochlea, brainstem and higher auditory pathways, but usually is related to suppurative labyrinthitis (cochlear damage).
One in 10 Americans has a hearing loss that affects his or her ability to understand normal speech.
Much research has focused on the detection of genetic causes of hearing loss, and many of them can now be diagnosed at an early age (Blanchard et al 2012, Dror & Avraham 2009, Kochhar et al 2007, Kokotas et al 2007, Robin et al 2005, Xing et al 2007). Risk factors that correlate with hearing loss in premature infants include hypoxia, mechanical ventilation, hyperbilirubinemia, very low birth weight, and the use of ototoxic medications. It occurs most frequently in the 30- to 60-year age group and affects males and females equally. These patients have symmetrical, high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss (as shown in Figure 3). Medical conditions that are common in the elderly, such as diabetes and stroke, may also increase the risk of hearing loss with aging (Bainbridge et al 2010, Helzner et al 2005, Maia & Campos 2005, Schreiber et al 2010). Causes include a buildup of ear wax, a foreign body in the ear canal, otosclerosis, tympanosclerosis (as shown in Figure 4), external or middle ear infections (otitis externa or media), allergy with serous otitis media, trauma to the ossicular chain such as temporal bone fracture, tumors of the middle ear, erosion of the ossicular chain (cholesteatoma) and perforation of the tympanic membrane.
Although not a serious health issue in itself, deafness can be a handicap for pets and difficult for their owners. Traditional methods such as clapping or rattling keys are subjective and dogs, in particular, can quickly learn to compensate for unilateral deafness by picking up on vibrations, smells and changing air currents. In young dogs carrying the piebald or merle genes sensorineural deafness is a result of the death of the cochlear hair cells following the degeneration of the stria vascularis in the cochlear duct. Tiny recording needles are inserted just under the skin on the head and the mastoid processes. Depending upon dose, drug administration can cause either a temporary or permanent threshold shift.
The middle ear includes the medial surface of the TM, the ossicular chain, the eustachian tube, and the tympanic segment of the facial nerve.


These conditions are relatively common in premature infants, and the majority do not go on to develop hearing deficits. Hearing loss in adults surviving pneumococcal meningitis is associated with otitis and pneumococcal serotype. Race and sex differences in age-related hearing loss: the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.
Deafness can affect either one ear (unilateral deafness) or both ears (bilateral deafness). These record the brainwaves, as the potential moves along the acoustic nerve and a wave form is generated on the screen. The inner ear includes the auditory-vestibular nerve, the cochlea and the vestibular system (semicircular canals). The National Institute of Health reports that about 15 percent of Americans aged 20 to 69 have high frequency hearing loss related to occupational or leisure activities. If the loss is minor, then avoidance of noise and ototoxic medications may be an appropriate treatment.
Trauma is more likely to affect hearing in patients who suffer a temporal bone fracture or are older in age (Bergemalm, 2003).
Because of occupational risk of noise induced hearing loss, there are government standards regulating allowable noise exposure. People working before the mid 1960s may have been exposed to higher levels of noise where there were no laws mandating use of devices to protect hearing.
Occasionally, persons with acquired deafness can be treated surgically with a surgically implanted device, a cochlear implant.




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