Hearing Loss

Frequently Asked Questions

12. If I already have a hearing loss, can I get my hearing back?

There are two general categories of hearing loss.

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. The cause may be earwax buildup, fluid, or a punctured eardrum. Medical treatment or surgery can usually restore conductive hearing loss.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent.

The effects of noise-induced hearing loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the intensity and duration of the exposure. Loss of hearing caused by ototoxic medications can be temporary or permanent. (Ototoxic medications are medications that can damage the inner ear.)

Even if you have lost some hearing, it is important to protect the hearing that remains. If your job or other activities require exposure to loud noise, begin using ear protection right away, and get a hearing test periodically to make sure the protection is adequate.