Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Hearing Loss

While advanced age is the most common reason for hearing loss, there are many other causes of impaired hearing, including:

  • Excessive noise (long-term exposure or sudden, extremely loud noise)
  • Ruptured ear drum
  • Certain drugs, including gentamicin and some chemotherapy drugs
  • Viral or bacterial infections accompanied by high fever
  • Chronic fluid in the middle ear
  • Head injury
  • Tumors of the head
  • Abnormal bone growth
  • Stroke
  • Heredity
  • Meniere disease

Diagnosing hearing loss

Your physician can use a number of techniques to determine if you are experiencing hearing loss, including:

  • Physical exam: to identify structural problems, infection or earwax that may be interfering with your hearing
  • Conversational observation: your physician can confirm hearing loss by holding a conversation with you
  • Audiometry (hearing test): conducted by an audiologist, this test produces sounds of various pitches and loudness in earphones to test your hearing

Diagnostic Tests

Legal Information

By clicking on these websites, you are leaving the Northwestern Medicine website. These websites are independent resources. Northwestern Medicine does not operate or control the content of these websites. By visiting these websites, you agree to this third party’s terms of use for their website.