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Hearing loss usually develops gradually, but in rarer cases it can occur more suddenly. General signs of hearing loss include:
You should see your GP if you're having problems hearing, or your child is showing signs of hearing difficulty. If you lose your hearing suddenly, in one or both ears, then see your GP urgently.
You should also see your GP if you have signs of an ear infection, such as severe earache, discharge or hearing loss.
Hearing loss is the result of sound signals not reaching the brain. There are two main causes:
It's also possible to have both these types of hearing loss. This is known as mixed hearing loss. Some people are born with hearing loss, but most cases develop as you get older.
If you have an underlying condition that causes you to lose your hearing then it is not always possible to prevent it.
However, you can reduce the risks associated with exposure to loud noise, including not having music or the TV turned up too loud, and by using ear protection where appropriate, such as in noisy work environments.