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Hearing impairment

Hearing impairment: Introduction

Hearing impairment is a general term for an abnormal condition in which a person experiences a deterioration or loss of hearing. Hearing impairment can also include muffled hearing and distorted hearing. Hearing impairment, also called hearing loss is a symptom or result of a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions.

The ear includes three areas: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Sound waves travel through the outer ear, into the middle ear where they cause vibration of the tympanic membrane. These vibrations are then transmitted through the auditory bones and into the cochlea of the inner ear. In the inner ear, sound vibrations are converted into electrical impulses and carried by the 8th cranial nerve to the brain.

Hearing impairment can result from a conductive problem in the outer or middle ear. Hearing impairment from this problem occurs when sound waves do not reach the inner ear. This type of hearing impairment is called conductive hearing loss and can be the result of ear infections, cholesteatoma, otosclerosis, earwax blockage, ear tumors, barotrauma and ruptured eardrum.

Hearing impairment can also result from a problem with the 8th cranial nerve. This is called sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing impairment occurs when the acoustic nerve is injured or damaged and is unable to conduct sound impulses from the ear to the brain. Hearing impairment due to sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by loud noise, nerve deafness, Meniere's disease, labyrinthitis and viral infections.

Hearing impairment often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, such as dizziness, vertigo and ear pain. These symptoms, as well as complications, vary depending on the underlying cause of hearing impairment. Complications can include deafness and depression. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of hearing impairment.

Diagnosing hearing impairment and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical and ear examination. The ear is examined with a lighted instrument called an otoscope.

Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of hearing tests (audiometry tests). A person with hearing impairment may need to consult with ear specialists, such as an audiologist or otologist, in order to get a full examination, testing and diagnosis of hearing impairment and its cause.

A diagnosis of hearing impairment and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because hearing impairment may be mild, progress very slowly and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of hearing impairment.

Treatment of hearing impairment varies depending on the disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Treatment includes addressing the underlying cause and may include hearing aids and other hearing devices. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of hearing impairment....more »

Hearing impairment: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing hearing impairment and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, it may not be severe enough for a person to seek medical care. Some people, especially the elderly, may be unaware of a gradual loss, change or impairment in hearing. In addition, some people may not seek medical care for a hearing impairment because they believe it to be a normal ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Hearing impairment:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Hearing impairment. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Hearing impairment: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Hearing impairment

Home medical tests possibly related to Hearing impairment:

Causes of Types of Hearing impairment:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Hearing impairment:

Review causes of more specific types of Hearing impairment:

Hearing impairment: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Hearing impairment, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Hearing impairment Treatments

Treatment plans for hearing impairment are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the age and medical history of the patient and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the underlying cause of hearing impairment and improves hearing.

Treatment of hearing impairment begins with prevention. This includes avoiding loud noises or ...Hearing impairment Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Hearing impairment may include:

Review further information on Hearing impairment Treatments.

Stories from Users for Hearing impairment

Real-life user stories relating to Hearing impairment:

Message Boards for Hearing impairment

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Hearing impairment or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Hearing impairment:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Hearing impairment. Some of these are listed below :

  • Physical examination
    • In a child, note any malformation of the skull, ears or face that may indicate a congenital syndrome associated with deafness
    • Pain with moving ear lobe suggests otitis externa
    • Examine in the ear with otoscope for any abnormalities such as excessive ear wax, foreign body, otitis media (middle ear infection), otitis externa (outer ear infection), cholesteatoma (a tumor in the middle ear) or ruptured ear drum
  • Ear discharge swab for microscopy and culture
  • Rinne' hearing test with a tuning fork - will help determine if hearing impairment is due to nerve problem or conduction (middle ear) problem.
  • Weber hearing test with a tuning fork - will help determine which ear is affected by hearing impairment and further assist in determining if hearing impairment is due to a nerve problem or conduction (middle ear) problem.
  • more tests...»

Hearing impairment: Animations

Medications or substances causing Hearing impairment:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Hearing impairment as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Hearing impairment: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Hearing impairment may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Hearing impairment

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Hearing impairment:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Hearing impairment. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Hearing impairment Assessment Questionnaire (28 listings)

Hearing impairment: Deaths

Read more about causes and Hearing impairment deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Hearing impairment

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis of more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, and Parkinsons-like symptoms more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or more »

Hearing impairment: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Hearing impairment

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Hearing impairment:

Hearing impairment: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Hearing impairment: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Hearing impairment listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Hearing impairment as a symptom include:

Definitions of Hearing impairment:

Lack or significant deficiency of the sense of hearing.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Impairment of the sense of hearing
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Organs affected by Hearing impairment:

The list of organs typically affected by Hearing impairment may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Hearing impairment

The list below shows some of the causes of Hearing impairment mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Hearing impairment?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Hearing impairment. Of the 1010 causes of Hearing impairment that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 8 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 10 causes are "common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 11 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 20 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 980 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Hearing impairment:

The following list of conditions have 'Hearing impairment' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Hearing impairment or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #





















Conditions listing medical complications: Hearing impairment:

The following list of medical conditions have Hearing impairment or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.





















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Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.

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Causes of Hearing impairment Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Hearing impairment based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Hearing impairment?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Hearing impairment, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    What are the alternative names for Hearing impairment:

    Hearing loss, Deafness
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Hearing impairment:

    Subtypes of Hearing impairment:

    Deafness (1048 causes), Hearing loss (271 causes), Reduced hearing (13 causes), Conductive hearing loss (83 causes), Presbycusis (14 causes), Hearing disturbance (2 causes), Sensorineural deafness (197 causes), Nerve deafness (120 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Hearing impairment:

    Hearing symptoms (1100 causes), Deafness (1048 causes), Ear symptoms (1999 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes)

    Symptoms related to Hearing impairment:

    Sensitive hearing (23 causes), Ear sounds (123 causes), Tinnitus (203 causes), Hearing loss (271 causes), Sensorineural hearing loss, Conductive hearing loss (83 causes), Ear canal obstruction, Tympanic membrane, Ossicles, Superior canal dehiscence syndrome, Otosclerosis

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Hearing impairment

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Hearing impairment and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Hearing impairment

    Medical research papers related to Hearing impairment include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Hearing Impairment:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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