Hearing Problems

Loss in the ability to hear or discriminate sounds is a common disability. This flow chart will help direct you if hearing loss is a problem for you or a family member.

Our trusted Symptom Checker is written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals. Find a possible diagnosis by choosing a symptom and answering a few simple questions.

Remember, be sure to consult with your doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

Step 2

Answering Questions

  • Have you been exposed to loud noises at work, or have you been shooting guns, driving a truck or listening to loud music for long periods of time?

  • Are you experiencing partial hearing loss, along with earache and a feeling of fullness in the ear?

  • Has your hearing loss occurred gradually as you have aged?

  • Are you experiencing gradual hearing loss in one ear only?

  • Do you have bouts of dizziness, nausea or vomiting, ringing in one ear and hearing loss in the same ear?

  • Are you taking any medicines?

  • Do you have pain, reduced hearing, fever, cold symptoms or a “fluid” sensation in your ear?

Step 3

Possible Causes

  • Diagnosis

    Loud noises that result from certain types of work or entertainment may damage the inner ear. This kind of hearing loss is called OCCUPATIONAL.


    Self Care

    Prevent occupational hearing loss by wearing protective ear plugs or earmuffs. Once the hearing loss has occurred it can’t be reversed. If you think you have occupational hearing loss, see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    Earwax blockage, called CERUMINOSIS, can cause hearing loss in one or both ears.


    Self Care

    Use mineral oil, baby oil or an over-the-counter earwax removal kit to soften the wax in your ear. If wax still can’t be removed, see your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have PRESBYCUSIS, hearing loss related to aging and other factors.


    Self Care

    See your doctor for an ear exam and a hearing test. You may benefit from a hearing aid.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have an ACOUSTIC NEUROMA, a noncancerous tumor on the hearing nerve.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    You may have MENIERE’S DISEASE or a more serious TUMOR on the hearing nerve.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    Certain medicines can cause hearing problems such as ringing in the ears.


    Self Care

    See your doctor.


  • Diagnosis

    This may be due to a cold, flu, allergies or a more chronic condition, SEROUS OTITIS MEDIA, in which fluid builds up in the middle ear.


    Self Care

    Use cold medicine for 5 to 7 days. If you don’t feel better or if you have a constant fever or severe pain, see your doctor.


  • Self Care

    For more information, please talk to your doctor. If you think the problem is serious, call your doctor right away.