Deafness or Hearing Loss

Ear Nose | Otorhinolaryngology | Deafness or Hearing Loss (Symptom)


Deafness is complete or partial loss of hearing in one or both ears. Hearing loss, can be present at birth (congenital), or become evident later in life (acquired).

Hearing loss can also be classified based on which portions of the hearing system (auditory system) are affected. When the nervous system is affected, it is referred to as sensorineural hearing loss. When the portions of the ear that are responsible for transmitting the sound to the nerves are affected, it is referred to as conductive hearing loss.


Sensorineural deafness may be present from birth. This type of deafness may result from a birth injury or damage resulting from maternal infection with rubella at an early stage of pregnancy. Innerear damage may also occur soon after birth as the result of severe jaundice. Other examples that cause sensorineural hearing loss include: Menieres disease, hearing loss of aging (presbycusis), nerve injury from syphilis, hearing loss of unknown cause (idiopathic hearing loss), nerve tumors and drug toxicity (such as aspirin and aminoglycosides).

Conditions that affect the ear canal, eardrum (tympanic membrane), and middle ear lead to conductive hearing loss. Examples of conductive hearing loss include: ear wax blocking the ear canal, otitis media and otosclerosis.