Understand Hearing Loss Better: What Causes Hearing Impairment?

Hearing loss can result from a lot of different reasons. Some people are born without the ability to use their hearing sense, while others develop it later on as they grow up. Understanding what causes deafness can help you appreciate the opportunity that is given to protect your hearing health. The same also helps us understand whether our hearing loss can be managed with hearing aids or with cochlear implants.

This guide is for everyone, whether you’re reading this for yourself or for your kids, as a reminder to give you and your hearing the extra protection it needs as early as now.


Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss happens when sounds are not able to travel from the outside of the ear to the inner parts such as ear drums and tiny bones. This can be brought about by blockage of foreign bodies such as ear wax and fluids. Perforated eardrums and abnormal ossicle growth can also cause this type of hearing loss.
What causes conductive hearing loss?
This type of hearing loss can be either congenital or acquired. The following explains the 2 types of conductive hearing loss.

Congenital Conductive Hearing Loss

Congenital deafness happens during a mother’s pregnancy and is usually progressive for the first decade of the child. This type of hearing loss may result from the following reasons:
  • Congenital stenosis: This is a condition that describes the narrowing of ear canals due to birth defect.
  • Malformation of the middle ear structures


Acquired Conductive Hearing Loss

Acquired deafness on the other hand happens some time after childbirth and may be triggered by the following reasons:
  • Cerumen or earwax build up
  • Infection: Otitis externa, inflammation on the outer ear and Otitis media, inflammation on the middle ear, may also hinder sounds from traveling to the inner ear because of swelling or fluid buildup.
  • Perforated eardrums: A hole in the eardrum may result from infections or trauma. When this happens, the ability of the eardrums to catch sound vibrations deteriorates.
  • Otosclerosis: Ossicles are small bones in the middle ear that functions as transmitters of sounds to cochlea. In the event that these tiny bones stiffens, it will fail to do its job well.


Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss comprises most of hearing cases around the world. This type of hearing loss means that the organ is having a problem in the cochlea, which transforms sounds into neural messages that get sent to the brain. Damage on these parts of the hearing sense occurs through aging, illness, genetics, injuries, and prolonged exposure to loud noise.
What causes sensorineural hearing loss?

This type of hearing loss can also be either congenital or acquired. The following explains the 2 types of sensorineural hearing loss.


Congenital Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The same with conductive hearing loss, congenital deafness happens during a mother’s pregnancy and is usually progressive for the first decade of the child. This type of hearing loss may result from the following reasons:
  • Prematurity
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Low oxygen levels during childbirth
  • Pregnancy infections such as rubella
  • Genetics


Acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The same with conductive hearing loss, acquired deafness on the other hand happens some time after childbirth and may be triggered by the following reasons:
  • Aging
  • Exposure to extremely loud noise
  • Disease or infections that damage the inner ear
  • Head injury
  • Tumors that affect the auditory system
  • Medications that are damaging to the hearing health


Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss occurs as a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means that this type happens when the ear is having a problem in both the outer/middle ear and inner hearing systems.

Some of these causes of hearing loss can either be treated by medication or surgery, or relieved with the use of a hearing aid. In order to know the ideal action for a specific hearing loss, it is best to consult a hearing care professional, like us here at The Listening Lab, so you can be diagnosed accurately and move forward with the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

Now that you’ve understood better the causes behind different types of hearing loss, the next best thing to do is to find out ways that can help you prevent these from happening. We wrote a separate article for that. If you are interested on protecting your hearing health, head over to this article: 5 Simple Ways on How You Can Protect Your Hearing

The Listening Lab is your friendly hearing care center. If you have inquiries regarding your hearing health, we will gladly accommodate you. Head over to our branches today to claim your FREE hearing test!

About The Listening Lab

Listening Lab is a home-grown company whose mission is to help our clients restore their hearing to enjoy the life that they desire. Experiencing hearing loss can be detrimental to one’s quality of life. Hence we commit to providing high-quality hearing solutions.

Our hearing solutions include hearing tests and treatment and prescribing hearing aids. Clients may come to get their hearing checked, and we will assess whether hearing aids are required.

If hearing aids are required, clients can choose from a variety of the best hearing aid brands we provide. Each of the products offers unique features that complement daily use and perform well in helping our clients enjoy the life that they desire.

What Do Our Customers Say?

Person in charge nice and helpful with warm smiling face. Should you have hearing problem, can seek for her advise.
Catherine Tang Yap
Your service is marvellous! Patient and friendly. Mr Ching has been a customer of The Listening Lab since 2018. We have been attending to him for his follow up reviews and we are glad to see his progress!
Mr Ching
My husband purchased a Siemens Pure 7PX in 2016. We wish to appreciate Listening Lab for their ongoing attention and professional help they have been providing to us.
Mr & Mrs Sriram
madam Low
My mum has hearing loss for many years. Consultant of Listening Lab helped her fitted with Resound hearing aid. His patience and professionalism was greatly appreciated as the hearing aid enable her to hear and communicate with the people around her especially her grand children. We are happy with the services rendered by consultant. Keep up the good work!!
Madam Low
The Voice of two Generations in Singapore radio, Mr Brian Richmond, has chosen The Listening Lab to be his audiology and hearing services provider. We could not be prouder!

Brian is the definitive household name in English Radio since the early years of Singapore's founding, starting with Rediffusion followed by Radio One and now with Gold 90.5FM as well as Vintage Radio Singapore. His honeyed voice and selection of music filling our ears as we lived the bustle of our daily lives.

Soccer fans from the Malaysia Cup era of soccer will never forget his heart-pounding commentary from "live" matches, as we experienced the ups and downs of the Singapore Lions in the 1970s to 90s.

Our Executive Director Kelvin Lee is proudly beaming ear-to-ear in this photo with Brian. But you wont be able to see it through the masks!
Brian Richmond
I started experiencing loss of hearing sometimes in 2010 (41 years old) owing to some medical issue. I was having difficulties hearing conservation especially in meeting. Thus, giving me the fear in attending meeting.

Initially I started with Phonak hearing aid. It helps amplified the sound and I could hear better then. Somehow, my hearing loss deteriorated further that in late 2012 (43 years old), there was profound loss of hearing on my right ear. Even digital hearing aid could not help. On my left ear there is still about 50% to 60% hearing with hearing aid. I was lost at this point of time. I was considering learning sign language. I went to see my ENT specialist and my audiologist Mr. Bala advised me to go for an CI as an alternative to my hearing loss.

I also thank God for Engineer and Scientist, giving them the knowledge to create such a complex and sophisticate device to help those with hearing loss like me. It will be all perfect if the cost is affordable too.
Jonathan Po
madam goh
I took my mum to Listening Lab at Simei to get her hearing aid fixed, during our first visit, she patiently explained the whole procedure to my mum and also explain to my mum why she really in need to fix the hearing aid. She is very knowledgeable, and friendly, and we are encouraged to ask questions. she is also very patient with old people which is the most importance. Also her after service is superb so I highly recommend.
Mdm Goh
My mum, Madam Kek (73 year old) had the Cochlear implant (CI) done on her left side in 10th September 2019. Thereafter, thanks to the subsequent auditory verbal therapy, evaluation from SGH ENT team, as well as, the support from AB's and Listening Lab staffs; Madam Kek was able to hear, comprehend sound and music from her Cochlear implant, Naida CI Q90, and hearing aid (HA), Naida Link UP, for her right side before end year. We are happy that both the CI and HA have improved mum qualify of life. Now Madam Kek is looking forward to work again to pass her time as she can hear and better communicate with others.
Madam Kek
Titus was implanted when he was 18 months old. He is a happy, talkative 6.5 years old now. AB has been with him for 5 wonderful hearing years and we are looking forward to a bright future that lies ahead for him. AB’s Naída CI sound processors are reliable and the technology is constantly evolving and upgrading. When Titus was introduced to Naida Link CROS, his life was enriched. The wireless network established between his Naida CI sound processor and a Naida Link CROS transmitter allows him to hear from both ears. This changes Titus’s life and the way we interact with him. We are also very pleased with the prompt response and service provided to us. The staff in AB genuinely cares! We want to thank AB for making Titus’s hearing journey an enjoyable and a relatively stress free one!
Titus Pang
mr tan
I have been living with progressive hearing loss for more than three decades. Socially, I find myself fearful of communicating with people and at home, watching 'soundless' television programs is a norm.

An unforgettable experience. Trying on a pair of Resound GN hearing aid, I was energized and revitalized and overwhelmed with emotional tears of joy. The Resound GN is truly remarkable and uniquely equipped with three-friendly-user environmental modes that provide hearing comfort wherever we are.

In particular, I like to extend my utmost gratitude to Hearing Consultant. With her profound compassion and wisdom in guiding me, I am confident that I can forge a formidable partnership with the Listening Lab; So that I can rebuild a new chapter of a happy and value-creative life and simultaneously, leaving behind the painful memories of the past three decades.
Mr Tan

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