Hearing loss is itself a heritable trait, meaning that it can be passed down from one generation to another. Many diseases, such as Usher syndrome, Pendred syndrome, and Waardenburg syndrome are inherited from one’s parents from either a recessive or dominant gene. These genes generally affect the overall integrity of the inner ear and eardrum.
Certain infectious diseases also cause hearing loss. Measles, a highly infectious disease that spreads from host to host with nearly 90% efficacy when one host is in close contact with another, can cause significant auditory nerve damage, thereby hindering one’s capacity to hear; information from the ear never reaches the brain. Meningitis, a very aggressive disease, may also damage the inner ear. Certain autoimmune diseases are also causes of hearing loss. There are many more diseases that can cause hearing loss: mumps, AIDS, chlamydia, fetal alcohol syndrome, premature birth, syphilis, otosclerosis, medulloblastoma, and superior canal dehiscence. Additionally, any disease, such as multiple sclerosis, or traumatic condition, like stroke, that directly injures the central nervous system stands the chance of compromising one’s ability to hear.
With nearly any disease or condition that might cause hearing loss, you are very likely to see an otolaryngologist, which is the technical name for an ear, nose, and throat doctor. This versatile medical specialty is responsible for treating sinus infections, sore throats, ear diseases, and minor facial trauma. Some of these doctors have a medical specialty in surgery, though very many of them specialize in a single phenomenon like hearing loss.
It is critical that you see an ear, nose, and throat doctor soon if you are experiencing any pain in your ear. Often, very loud environments can induce ear pain. If this is the case with you, you should immediately leave the area and head to a quiet place. Pain in the ear might also be an indication of an ear infection, a condition that should be looked at by a medical professional before it progresses to a more painful and harmful state. In many cases, an ear malady can be cleared by simple ear drops and an oral medication. Many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin are effective at alleviating the pain associated with many ear sicknesses.