What Causes Hearing Loss?

There are three broad categories of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural and mixed²: 

  • Conductive hearing loss: temporary or permanent hearing loss due to blockage (e.g. wax buildup) or damage (e.g. broken connections between your inner ear bones). Causes can include ear infections, middle-ear fluid buildup, otosclerosis (middle-ear bone growths) and perforated eardrums.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: permanent hearing loss due to damage to your auditory nerve or your cilia (tiny hairs in your inner ear that move in response to sound, sending nerve impulses to your brain). Causes can include age, exposure to loud noise, and some diseases and medications. 
  • Mixed hearing loss: temporary or permanent hearing loss due to a combination of sensorineural and conductive factors, such as when excessive wax buildup exacerbates auditory nerve damage’s effects. 

Mitigating Hearing Loss

Changes to your hearing may be repairable, depending on its cause. Medical professionals can treat many types of conductive hearing loss by clearing wax and foreign objects, treating infections with antibiotics and surgically removing abnormal growths.3

For permanent hearing loss, treatment is a matter of mitigation to prevent its impact on your life. Hearing aids are a common and highly effective solution to many hearing loss problems.

Managing Your Hearing

The best thing you can do for your hearing is to protect it from damage in the first place. Below are some steps you can take to help keep your ears in the best condition possible⁴: 

  • Avoid excessive noise: listen to music at reasonable volumes and wear hearing protection at concerts, sporting events and other loud environments. 
  • Keep your ears dry: excessive moisture can cause infections and wax buildup.
  • Don’t smoke: smoking increases your hearing loss risk, as nicotine and carbon monoxide restrict blood flow to your ears and may interfere with neurotransmitters.
  • Check your medications: some medications note hearing loss as a potential side effect; discuss these with your doctor before taking them. 
  • Manage your ear wax: ear wax helps keep your ears clean, but excessive amounts can cause problems. A safe cleaning routine can help avoid problems.  
  • Don’t push anything into your ears: this can cause harm if you try to force objects into your middle ear.  
  • Take supplements for better health if needed: magnesium, zinc and B vitamins are linked to healthy hearing.
  • Protect your ears: use hearing protection when needed, keep your ears warm when it’s cold, dry them after swimming, and protect them from the sun.
  • See your doctor regularly: high blood pressure, diabetes and other health conditions can increase your risk of hearing loss, so try to maintain good overall health.
  • Get regular hearing checks: hearing checks are quick, painless and non-invasive; they’re also a great way to establish your ‘baseline’ hearing and detect any future changes.
  • Attentive listening: listen to music, walk outdoors or simply spend time listening carefully to your surroundings; cognition plays an integral part in hearing. 
  • Have someone read aloud to you: another great attention exercise is to repeat back a companion’s spoken words. 


Let Us Help Your Hearing

If you’re not already in touch with your local Connect Hearing clinic, make an appointment today. It’s great to have a team that knows and understands your hearing health and is dedicated to keeping it in the best condition possible. 


  1. Department of Health and Aged Care (n.d.), About ear health, Australian Government, accessed 25 March 2024.
  2. BUPA (14 February 2023), Hearing loss: Symptoms, causes and treatment, BUPA, accessed 25 March 2024.
  3. Healthline (15 May 2018), Reverse Hearing Loss, Healthline, accessed 25 March 2024.
  4. Well U (22 November 2022), 12 Tips to Improve Hearing and Prevent Hearing Loss, CareCredit, accessed 25 March 2024.