Respiratory Virus and Measles Information

A purple background is filled with light purple illustrated medical imagery, including brains, syringes, first aid kits, pill bottles, bandages, thermometers and more.

Quick Dose: Is Hearing Loss Reversible?

It depends on the type of hearing loss.

Not Reversible

Noise-related. Noises louder than 85 decibels for more than eight hours per day can cause noise-related hearing loss. Frequent proximity to loud noises also increases your risk.

Age-related. Your hearing loss risk increases with age. This can be from noise-induced hearing loss, or hereditary hearing loss, which is also not reversible.

Caused by ototoxic medications. Ototoxic medications, like many chemotherapies, can cause non-reversible hearing loss. That’s why Northwestern Medicine audiologists typically do hearing tests before, during and after chemotherapy.

Non-reversible hearing loss can often be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants.


Infection-related. Some ear infections can cause temporary hearing loss that will improve with antibiotics or other treatments like ear ventilation with tubes.

Caused by other medical conditions. There are some medical conditions, such as benign tumors or deterioration of the bones in the middle ear space, that can cause hearing loss. Surgery to remediate or remove affected areas can prevent further hearing loss from occurring.

Hearing Protection

Ear plugs and earmuffs will help reduce noise-related hearing loss. Consider ear protection if:

  • Your job or hobby exposes you to loud noises.
  • You attend concerts or sporting events.
  • — Laura Buskirk, AuD, Clinical Audiologist, Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group

    Care for Hearing Loss