Potential Causes of Hearing Loss

Types of Hearing Loss

  • Conductive Hearing Loss
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss
  • Mixed Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss happens when sounds cannot pass through the outer and middle ear. This type of hearing loss can usually be fixed by medication or surgery.

Potential Causes of Hearing Loss

Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss:

  • Fluid in your middle ear from colds or allergies.
  • Ear infections
  • Blocked Fluid via the Eustachian tube, which connects your middle ear and your nose.
  • Hole in your eardrum
  • Earwax stuck in the ear canal.
  • An object stuck in your outer ear, e.g. a pebble or small bead.
  • Deformation of the outer or middle ear.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs after inner ear damage, and is the most common type of permanent hearing loss or damage.

Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

  • Illness
  • Aging
  • A blow to the head
  • Deformation of the inner ear
  • Being subjected to loud noises or explosions
  • Ototoxic Medicines* (medication that can damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss, tinnitus or vertigo (loss of balance/dizziness).

What are Ototoxic Medicines?

There are more than 200 known ototoxic drugs, both prescription and over the counter, that are on the market today. These include medication used to treat serious infections, cancer and heart disease. Ototoxic medications known to cause permanent damage include certain aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin (family history may increase susceptibility), and cancer chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin.

Drugs known to cause temporary damage include salicylate pain relievers (aspirin, used for pain relief and to treat heart conditions), quinine (to treat malaria), and loop diuretics (to treat certain heart and kidney conditions). In some instances, exposure to loud noise while taking certain drugs will increase their damaging effects. Prior to taking ototoxic medication, a baseline record of your hearing and balance should be recorded by an audiologist. This information can help you and your doctor make an informed decision whether to stop or change the drug treatment before your hearing is damaged. If drug treatment cannot be stopped or changed, steps can be taken to manage the effects of the hearing loss that results.

During the course of your treatment, you should have periodic hearing tests to monitor the process. The effects of Ototoxic medications are well documented and audiological monitoring of patients during treatment should be routine clinical practice.

Mixed Hearing Loss

In some situations, conductive hearing loss happens at the same time as sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). This means that there may be damage or injury to the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or nerve pathway to the brain. Anything that causes conductive hearing loss or SNHL can result in mixed hearing loss. The two together may make your hearing worse than it would be with only one type of hearing loss.

Contact Coleman Legal Medical Negligence Solicitors

The medical negligence team at Coleman Legal Partners have significant experience of dealing with claims where hearing impairment or loss occurs as a result of substandard or negligent medical treatment.

We have also taken instructions in relation to the recent audiology review findings in relation to paediatric audiology.

Contact us on 01-5313800 or fill in your details in the form below and we will contact you.


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