Hearing loss can affect people of any age. One in six adults have some degree of hearing loss, which increase to three in four above the age of 75. Children can also be affected, usually due to fluid or infection in the middle ear but also due to congenital problems or viral illness during early childhood.
The causes of deafness can be broadly grouped into problems in the ear canal and middle ear (conductive hearing loss) or sensori-neural hearing loss, which is a problem with the translation of the sound waves into an electrical signal by the inner ear.
You should seek advice urgently (within 24-48 hours) if you have a sudden hearing loss, as treatment should be started within 48 hours of its onset.
You should also seek advice if you have a hearing loss in one ear only or if you notice a gradual deterioration of your hearing and need to discover the cause and get treatment.
Further information is available in the patient information leaflet linked to on this page.