Picture of microscopic bacteria.There are many different reasons you may be experiencing hearing loss. In some cases, hearing loss may be an indication of a significant health problem.

If you are experiencing any degree of hearing loss, it is important that you have your hearing checked by a hearing care professional who may refer you to an appropriate medical specialist, if necessary.

Knowing the reason behind your hearing loss can help you detect a health condition that may have other serious and potentially fatal implications.

1. Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a disorder that typically affects just one inner ear, and that can cause lifelong damage. Typical symptoms can include vertigo, hearing loss and the sensation of fullness or pressure in your ear. The degree of hearing loss you may experience may initially vary, but some of the damage will eventually become permanent. The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, but it is suspected that it may result from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear that is caused by allergies, infection or head trauma.

2. Benign Tumors

Hearing loss is also a common symptom of a benign tumor that may grow between the brain and the inner ear. The most common of this type of tumor is the acoustic neuroma, which is usually situated on the balance and hearing nerves. It usually starts growing in the inner ear before advancing towards the brain. Even though it is noncancerous, its location and size can cause potentially fatal damage. With the advanced technology that is available in the medical field, the tumor can be detected early while it is still small and easy to remove.

3. Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis occurs when a small bone in your middle ear becomes stuck in place. The bone affected is typically the stapes, which can become immobile when bone tissues begin to develop it abnormally. This can cause hearing loss as the vibration of the stapes bone is necessary for healthy hearing. If the bone is unable to move, sounds will not be able to travel from your middle ear to your inner ear, which makes hearing difficult. The symptoms of otosclerosis are at their most extreme when sufferers are in their 30s and often include dizziness and tinnitus, in addition to hearing loss.

4. Mumps

Mumps is a viral infection that is particularly common in children. It causes the inflammation of the salivary glands, which can result in swollen cheeks. Headaches and fever are other common symptoms. Hearing loss may be another symptom if the mumps virus attacks and damages the cochlea in the inner ear. The tiny hair cells, which converts sound vibrations into the nerve impulses the brain uses to process sound, cannot regenerate, making the impact on your hearing permanent.

5. German Measles

German measles, which is caused by the rubella virus, is an illness that can affect children and adults. Typical symptoms of the disease include aching joints, fever, swollen lymph nodes and hearing loss. If a pregnant woman is infected with the virus early in her pregnancy, the baby may be born with nerve damage that can result in deafness.