Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss can be present at birth (congenital) or become evident later in life (acquired deafness). The distinction between acquired and congenital deafness specifies only the time that the deafness appears. It does not specify whether the cause of the deafness is genetic (inherited).

Acquired deafness may or may not be genetic. For example, it may be a manifestation of a delayed-onset form of genetic deafness. Alternatively, acquired deafness may be due to damage to the ear from noise.

Congenital deafness similarly may or may not be genetic. For example, it may be associated with a white forelock and be caused by a genetic disease called Waardenburg syndrome. In fact, more than half of congenital hearing loss is inherited. Alternatively, congenital deafness may be due to something such as the rubella virus to which the mother was exposed during pregnancy.

Patients may experience the related symptoms of Earache, Vision Loss, and/or Loss Of Taste.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/5/2012

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REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Hearing Loss
    • Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Middle ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) is inflammation fo the middle ear. There are two types of otitis media, acute...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Article
      • Otitis media (ear infection or inflammation) facts
      • What is otitis media?
      • What are the symptoms of acute middle ear infection?
      • "Are ear infections contagious?
      • How common is acute otitis media?
      • Why do young children tend to have middle ear infections or inflammation?
      • How does the Eustachian tube change as a child gets older?
      • What microorganisms cause otitis media?
      • What is the relationship between bottlefeeding and middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What are the risk factors for acute middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • How is otitis media diagnosed?
      • How is acute middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
      • Are there any home remedies for acute ear infection (otitis media)?
      • What causes chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What happens to the eardrum in chronic middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What happens to the eardrum if a hole develops in the eardrum?
      • How is chronic middle ear infection or inflammation treated?
      • What are the goals of otitis media surgery?
      • What is serious middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • What limitations are there on a child with middle ear infection or inflammation?
      • Can otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation) be prevented?
    • Ear Wax Ear was is a natural substance secreted by special glands in the skin on the outer part of the ear canal. It repels water, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ear Wax Article
      • What is ear wax?
      • What does ear wax look like?
      • Unpleasant symptoms related to excessive ear wax
      • When should ear wax be removed?
      • How should ear wax be removed?
      • Is it OK to use Q-tips?
    • Facial Nerve Problems and Bell's Palsy (Bell Palsy) Facial nerve disorders affect the muscles of the face. There are many causes of facial nerve disorders including trauma, nervous...learn more »
      In This Article
      Facial Nerve Problems and Bell's Palsy (Bell Palsy) Article
      • Facial nerve problems and Bell's palsy facts
      • What is the facial nerve?
      • What are symptoms of a facial nerve problem?
      • What conditions affect the facial nerve?
      • How are the causes of facial nerve dysfunction diagnosed?
      • What is and what causes Bell's palsy?
      • What are the symptoms of Bell's palsy?
      • What is the mechanism of injury in Bell's palsy?
      • What are treatment options of facial nerve paralysis?
      • What is the treatment for eye problems from facial nerve disorder?
      • What surgical reconstruction options are available?
      • What is the prognosis for facial nerve problems?
      • Can facial nerve problems be prevented?
    • German Measles (Rubella) German measles is a disease that's caused by a virus. Symptoms include rash and fever for two to three days. The MMR (measles,...learn more »
      In This Article
      German Measles (Rubella) Article
      • What is rubella (German measles)?
      • What are rubella symptoms and signs?
      • What are the complications of rubella?
      • How is rubella spread from person to person?
      • Can rubella be prevented with a vaccine?
      • Does my child need the rubella vaccine (MMR)?
      • As an adult, do I need the rubella vaccine (MMR)?
    • Meniere's Disease Meniere disease (idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops) is an inner ear disorder with symptoms that include vertigo, tinnitus, hearing...learn more »
      In This Article
      Meniere's Disease Article
      • Meniere's disease facts
      • What is Meniere's disease?
      • What causes Meniere's disease?
      • What are the symptoms of Meniere's disease?
      • How is Meniere's disease diagnosed?
      • How can Meniere's disease be treated?
    • Noise Induced Hearing Loss and Its Prevention Noise-induced hearing loss may be an acoustic trauma (temporary hearing loss), or permanent due to an acute acoustic trauma....learn more »
      In This Article
      Noise Induced Hearing Loss and Its Prevention Article
      • What is the importance of noise-induced hearing loss?
      • What are acoustic trauma and noise-induced hearing loss?
      • How can a person tell if a noisy situation is dangerous to their hearing?
      • How loud can a sound get before it affects hearing?
      • Do the duration and closeness of exposure to loud noise relate to hearing damage?
      • What factors increase a person's susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss?
      • How else can noise affect a person?
      • What are the regulations regarding on-the-job exposure to noise?
      • How effective are hearing protection devices?
      • What are the common problems with hearing protectors?
      • Do hearing protectors prevent a person from communicating with others?
      • How is hearing loss identified?
      • What can be done to treat hearing loss?
    • Swimmer's Ear Swimmer's ear (external otitis) is an infection of the skin that covers the outer ear canal. Causes of swimmer's ear include...learn more »
      In This Article
      Swimmer's Ear Article
      • Swimmer's ear facts
      • What is "swimmer's ear" infection or acute external otitis?
      • What are symptoms of swimmer's ear?
      • What is chronic swimmer's ear?
      • What is the treatment for swimmer's ear?
      • How can swimmer's ear be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for swimmer's ear?
      • What about swimmer's ear in children?
      • Why do ears itch?
      • What should I do if I get a foreign object or insect in my ear?
    • Toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis (toxo) is a parasitic infection that causes flulike symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle aches and pains that...learn more »
      In This Article
      Toxoplasmosis Article
      • Toxoplasmosis facts
      • What is toxoplasmosis?
      • What is the cause of toxoplasmosis?
      • What factors increase the risk of acquiring toxo?
      • What are the usual symptoms of toxoplasmosis?
      • Why do some people develop severe problems from toxo?
      • Can toxoplasmosis develop into a more serious illness in babies?
      • What is meant by a baby developing "a more severe case of toxo"?
      • How is toxo diagnosed in the lab?
      • How can toxoplasmosis be prevented?
      • Am I able to keep my cat?
      • Once infected with toxo, is my cat always able to spread the infection to me?
      • What is the treatment for toxoplasmosis?
      • What is the prognosis for toxoplasmosis?
    • Usher Syndrome There are three types of Usher (Usher's) syndrome, the most common condition that affects both vision and hearing. The major...learn more »
      In This Article
      Usher Syndrome Article
      • What is Usher syndrome?
      • Who is affected by Usher syndrome?
      • What causes Usher syndrome?
      • What are the characteristics of the three types of Usher syndrome?
      • How is Usher syndrome diagnosed?
      • Is genetic testing for Usher syndrome available?
      • How is Usher syndrome treated?
      • What research is being conducted on Usher syndrome?
      • What are some of the latest research findings?
Other Causes of Hearing Loss
  • Alport Syndrome
  • Autoimmune Hearing Loss
  • Cogan's Syndrome
  • Head Trauma
  • Jervell & Lange-Nielsen Syndrome
  • Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription, Including Aspirin)
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Waardenburg Syndrome




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