If there is a disturbance anywhere in the process of hearing described above, we speak of hearing loss. Hearing ability usually decreases with age, but contrary to misconceptions, hearing loss is not only common among the elderly. Anyone can experience hearing loss at a young age (significant background noise, loud music, noise at work, sudden sound effects) but it can also be caused by a congenital problem.
Hearing loss can be caused by damage to the sound transmitting system or the absence or the absence of sensory cells, or the combination of both.
In case of damage to the sound transmitting system, the external ear canal, the eardrum, or the middle ear, we can speak of transmissive hearing loss. Typically, hearing is reduced considering a frequency, which can be triggered by an ear infection, an enlarged tonsil in children, or even an accumulation of earwax. A common cause in adults is otosclerosis. As a result of the disease, spongy material is deposited and solidified, as a result of which the movement of the stapes becomes impossible, it does not transmit sound properly, which causes a gradual unilateral hearing loss or bilateral hearing loss. Transmissive hearing loss is usually mild to moderate but can be temporary.
Nerve-related hearing loss is caused by the malfunction or lack of sensory cells. This includes hearing loss due to age, noise, or the destruction of the cochlea or auditory nerves as a side effect of certain medicines (aspirin). This type of hearing loss is usually permanent.