Hearing Loss

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss occurs when one is not able to hear in the same way as compared earlier or with someone with normal hearing. It can happen in one or both ears and range from mild to profound severity. It can be tested if a person is not able to hear thresholds of 20 dB or better in both ears. Severe hearing loss signifies damage to inner ear, 

Hearing loss may hinder everyday communication, impacting one’s quality of life significantly.

Types of hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss: 

This type of hearing loss happens when one detects problems with the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear structures (ossicles). Infections, allergies, benign tumors, impacted earwax, or even anatomical abnormalities are some of the causes for conductive hearing loss. People with conductive hearing loss may experience times when they hear less than what they used to or the ability to hear low sounds might get impacted.

Sensorineural hearing loss:

Direct damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or some kind of damage in the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain causes sensorineural hearing loss which is cause of worry in most cases. It is mainly caused by loud noise, aging, and viral infections. Symptoms may include difficulty understanding speech, especially against background noise, and sounds may seem less clear and too soft.


Mixed as the name suggests is a kind of hearing loss that is a combination of conductive and sensorineural damage. Individuals with this type of hearing loss experience symptoms of both types, often impacting the hearing capability. This happens when there is some damage to the outer/middle ear along with damage to the inner-ear. Treatment may involve a mix of medical procedures and the use of hearing aids.

Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder:

It happens when there is damage somewhere along the hearing (auditory) nerve). Sound here does enter normally without any issues but transmission from the inner ear to the brain is impacted and is the main sign of Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder. Children, generally who are born early or have a family member with ANSD are more likely to experience and get it. 

How hearing loss can occur?

Damage to the inner ear

It occurs from damage to the inner-ear, the most important place which originates the nerve that runs to the brain. Injury, accident, Aging and chronic exposure to loud noise can degrade the cochlea's hair or nerve cells, which are crucial for converting sound vibrations into neural signals. This damage is often irreversible and, in most cases, results in permanent hearing loss. 

Buildup of earwax

Earwax is a natural protector of the inner ear, but excessive buildup can obstruct the ear canal and cause problems in the sound wave passage, leading to temporary hearing loss. Use of in-ear earphones or buds for longer hours can also cause continuous build up of earwax which can get dangerous if neglected for a long time. It can lead to ear irritation, hearing loss, tinnitus or other issues. Continuous blocking of ears in any form should be avoided. 

Regular, gentle cleaning can prevent wax accumulation.

Ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation)

Ruptured eardrum is another cause of hearing loss. Trauma, sudden pressure changes, or infections can rupture the eardrum. This not only reduces hearing but can lead to infections and further complications if not treated promptly. A tear in the drum might allow bacteria to flow to the middle or inner ear. It can be a temporary issue if treated on time. 

Risk factors


This is one of the most common causes of hearing loss for aged people especially when they haven’t had any other ear related issues in the past. Natural aging causes wear and tear on the auditory system. delicate hair cells in the cochlea are affected due to aging. This causes wear and tear on the auditory system.  It is also called as presbycusis which might not have any solution other than hearing aids.

Loud noise

If the sound is at or below 70 dBA, one might not have to worry. However, Frequent exposure to sound levels above 85 decibels is one of the causes of permanent hearing damage. This is common in environments with heavy machinery, loud music, and high-volume electronics. Sometimes people experience continuous ringing, vibrations, sounds getting muffed if getting exposed to loud noise on a frequent basis. Use In-ear earphones or over ear headphones at high volume on a daily basis might cause issues on the longer run. Hence the volume has to be kept at or below 60-70%.


Genetic factors can make some individuals more prone to ear abnormalities and hearing loss, even without external causes. Multiple generations of one family who have ancestors with hearing loss might also face hearing loss.

Noises on the job

Depending on the amount of noise one is getting exposed to in their daily work environment, one might start generating symptoms of hearing loss. 

Occupations like construction, factory work, military service, or music can expose individuals to harmful levels of sound. One has to be extremely aware and cautious of what he is getting into on a daily basis to ensure he is not over exposing himself to loud noise levels or is taking precautions from the beginning.

Noises at play

Recreational activities, such as attending concerts, sporting events, or shooting firearms, can also be the causes of hearing loss if protective measures are not taken. One has to ensure that he is not around music all the time even if it's for fun or entertainment and it adds up in hearing loss symptoms if entertained daily.

Some medicines

Hearing loss can also occur due to the use of some medicines. Ototoxic drugs, which include certain antibiotics, chemotherapy agents, and large quantities of aspirin, can damage auditory structures.

Comparing the loudness of common sounds

Understanding decibel levels is crucial for recognizing hazardous noises. For instance, normal conversation is about 60 dB, city traffic around 85 dB, a motorcycle engine running is 95 dB, and a siren at 120 dB. Regular exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can result in gradual hearing loss. 

Frequent exposure to sounds above 85 dCB adds up to symptoms of hearing loss and increases the probability of having hearing issues at an early age. One has to understand what he is exposing himself to and take care on a regular basis. 

Longest amount of time to be around loud sounds

The duration of safe exposure decreases as sound levels increase. For example, while you can safely listen to 85 dB sounds for up to 8 hours, exposure to 100 dB should not exceed 15 minutes without proper ear protection to avoid permanent damage. Listening to music with high / full volume or with loudspeakers daily might result in signs of hearing loss or damage. Regular breaks should be taken to listen to music and volume should be kept at minimum or usable levels which does not cause issues. 


Have your hearing tested

Visit your nearest doctor or ENT if you feel even the slightest discomfort in your ears or hearing or face any signs of hearing loss as it might multiply causing major issues. Regular hearing assessments can help catch hearing loss early, making it possible to take steps to manage the condition and prevent further deterioration.

Avoid risks from hobbies and play

One should take breaks in breaks in loud environments audio devices, and should use hearing protection during recreational activities that involve loud noise are effective strategies for preserving hearing health. Turning the music volume down also helps in causing hearing loss issues.

Protect your ears

Keep yourself away from loud noises on a daily basis. Use of in-ear earphones or headphones too are a major cause for hearing damage and loss.
Open ear headphones on the other hand are safe for your ears. NG EarSafe open-ear headphones like NG EarSafe, EarSafe Comm, EarSafe Pro, EarSafe Lite keep your ears open, safe and lets you stay aware of your surroundings. These open-ear headphones prevents ear wax build-up due to use of other earphones which constantly block your ears. NG EarSafe Pro model which comes with bone conduction technology delivers sound without direct contact with the ear canal, reducing the risk of damage and discomfort. 

Using open ear headphones at a volume of 60-70% are completely safe for your ears.