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Causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss is an invisible disability that can affect a person’s quality of life.

Understanding the causes is essential to taking preventive measures and taking care of your hearing to avoid a hearing loss.

What is hearing loss?

Deafness is the loss of hearing. It can be temporary or permanent, and is sometimes associated with other problems such as loss of balance, vertigo or tinnitus.

Deaf or hard-of-hearing people often have difficulty understanding speech, and may no longer be able to hear certain sounds.

Hearing loss can be assessed on the following scale:

1,5 billions

The number of hearing-impaired people in the world

1 of 4

The number of French people suffering from hearing loss


The percentage of deaf people who wear hearing aids

What causes hearing loss?

There are over 32 causes of deafness identified by the World Health Organization. Here are just a few of them:

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Genetic factors

Genetic factors are responsible for congenital deafness, i.e. deafness that is present from birth and may progress over the years or remain stable.

Genetic mutations inherited from parents can lead to structural abnormalities of the inner ear, auditory nerve or neural pathways, resulting in hearing loss.

Advances in genetic research have enabled us to better understand these factors, and to offer appropriate follow-up to families at risk.

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Noise exposure

Prolonged exposure to high noise levels is a frequent cause of hearing loss.

Loud noises such as those generated by industrial machinery, concerts or the regular use of high-volume headphones can damage the hair cells of the inner ear, leading to so-called “noise-induced” deafness.

It is essential to wear hearing protection and limit exposure to noise to prevent this type of hearing loss.

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Ear infections

Ear infections, such as otitis, can also cause hearing problems.

These infections can lead to inflammation of the middle or outer ear, causing fluid build-up and impaired sound transmission.

It’s important to treat ear infections promptly to minimize the risk of temporary or permanent deafness.

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Certain diseases and medical conditions can cause hearing loss, or be one of the symptoms.

Common examples include Meniere’s disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and hypertension. These conditions can damage hearing structures or restrict blood flow to the inner ear, leading to progressive deafness.

des médicaments en blister, de toutes les couleurs

Ototoxic drugs

Some drugs can have harmful side effects on hearing.

These ototoxic drugs can damage the hair cells of the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss.

It’s essential to discuss potential effects on hearing with your doctor before taking these medications, especially if you’re already predisposed to hearing problems.

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Unfortunately, as we age, we often experience hearing loss.

This inevitable progression to deafness can be more or less rapid and more or less significant, depending on the individual and a number of factors.

High-pitched sounds are often the first to disappear, followed by low-pitched sounds.

While deafness is a disability that can occur at any time in life, it’s essential to understand its causes so you can take preventive measures to preserve your hearing.

By avoiding exposure to excessive noise, promptly treating ear infections and protecting your head during high-risk activities, you can already reduce the risk of hearing loss!

Don’t forget to have your hearing checked regularly by a professional. In the event of hearing loss, solutions such as hearing aids, cochlear implants or our assistance dogs with earphones can improve your quality of life.

Hearing loss is...
  • an invisible disability
  • a daily inconvenience

All operating, acquisition and training costs for the dogs are entirely covered by the Association les Chiens du Silence: the assistance dog is provided for free to the recipient.

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