Hearing loss started in my early 20's

Hi everyone, I am new here. I dont remember the exact year or date when my hearing went down hill, but I really noticed it within the past 2-3 years. I am 29 ( 30 next month) , so it’s really odd for me to have severe hearing loss in both ears ( worse in right ear) . No one in my family has hearing loss, so I dont think it’s hereditary . I also passed my high school hearing tests ( I believe so). I have not had any trauma in my life , or car accidents, so it can not be that…I was wondering if anyone here might be in the same situation , or have an idea what is going on lol with mine? I just got hearing aids , and they help so much ! One day when I was 17 years old, I did get bit my a spider ( we thought it was ) and i ended up going to the hospital , and the doctor put me on that strong antibiotic , vancomycin . I didnt find out about this until maybe 6 months ago ,that this medicine can cause hearing loss, but that was over 10 years ago , could it take that long to cause hearing loss ?

The antibiotics could of started the hearing loss, certain illnesses can cause it, going to concerts could cause it, listening to loud music through earbuds could cause hearing loss, shooting guns could cause it, going to auto races could cause it, family history(parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents) can also be the cause of hearing loss. The ENT or audiologist are taking a shot in the dark if they try to figure out the reason for your hearing loss. What you have to do now is do everything you can to protect the hearing you have left. Good luck!

The thing about hearing loss is that it’s usually well under way by the time it’s recognized. One can go for years and not really be bothered and then one day one realizes one has a problem. It didn’t start that day, but you finally hit a threshhold where it causes problems. Agree with Seb, nothing to be gained by trying to figure it out. Just protect what hearing you’ve got. For what it’s worth from the little I’ve read, I doubt the Vancomycin was a factor. When it causes hearing loss, it’s usually in older people. Good luck. I know it’s challenging.

Well it’s natural to try to figure out why. Probably one of the stages of grief really. I first went to an ent doctor when I was 29. He told me to learn lip-reading and possibly sign because by the time I got old (probably the age I am now) my hearing would be totally gone. The good news is that further deterioration has been gradual. I still have hearing. He also told me to avoid hearing aid salesmen because they were all robbers. Here we are in an age when hearing aids actually work (kind of). And you’re young enough so that one of the promised therapies (they’re usually supposed to happen within 5 or 10 years) may actually come to fruition. So yeah, accept your condition, but there’s also hope.

Thirty should have been the age that I got them, too, but I dragged my feet a bit there. Got them for 7 years now, I think. No idea what has caused it. My brother seems to be going through the same thing, but at a much slower rate. Looking back, it seems that passing the hearing tests has as much to do with intelligence as hearing: as long as you score good enough, they just won’t register as having a hearing problem. However, a lot of things in the past make more sense when you factor in that you weren’t hearing well: “You just don’t listen, do you? Concentrate!”

I got a lot of use from really digging into the material and programming the aids myself. Instead of finding some situation totally untenable for me, I found you could modify your aids to handle most situations. For me small children who scream a lot, was the hardest to program. (Especially since I really wanted to hear the small baby sounds, too!)

So I am going to join the band wagon: It’s a real handicap, take care for your ears! Medicine can’t help you, if it’s not something they can operate on. So put the why-question on a low burner and start looking at what the how-question: technology is your main friend here.

Markismus, having been born into a family with deafness on BOTH sides (nerve-related on one side, age-related on the other), I can empathize with you. But even so, there are MANY MANY other conditions for which no amount of medication or intervention can guarantee quality of life. At least we have HAs to bridge the gap - and I’d say about 95% or more of us who recognize the need for aids and GET them benefit and enjoy higher quality of life.

All that said, the fact that both you and your brother are on the same path says something about a common environmental or genetic connection, I’d think? Have you both seen ENTs to rule out physical causes that could be fixed with surgery? If so, and you’ve been diagnosed with the kind of hearing loss that can benefit from wearing HAs, you’re lucky! The advances in HAs may seem glacial (compared to putting a man on the moon even), but they are ongoing. My Oticon Opn REI aids are better in some ways than the older Agil Pros - thanks to technology that allows better TV streaming and crisper high frequencies.

I TOO should’ve had aids at a much younger age - probably my 20s. But I didn’t have the money (and forget about medical coverage!) till I was in my early 30s. I’ve worn aids for over 30 years now, and have become comfortable with their benefits in hearing as well as ability to turn them OFF and utterly shut out all noise (if I’m doing something noisy, at a loud concert, or even just napping). You are smart to focus on the HOW. In time, aids will get better, but for now, there is no miracle cure for hearing loss - unlike laser vision fixes or even a pair of glasses that compensate for near/far-sighted situations.

Perhaps in my lifetime even there will be stem cell research or even inner ear hair replacement! If only I could get that Minoxidil waaaaaay down in my ear …!

d’Wooluf, your ENT doc sounds incredibly insensitive and blockheaded! Funny, but I was given the same advice by one the first HA audiologists I saw. He was just eager to sell me the BIGGEST set of dumbo-ears he could! My own loss has been gradual but steady (maybe 5db per decade). I think the key is to find a caring, compassionate audiologist who works with you over time. I have found such a person, for whom I am eternally grateful! My aud-guy of the past decade knows my loss profile, my health issues (sensitivity to so-called “hypoallergenic” materials) and goals so that he fits me with the optimal set of aids every few years. I agree that there is hope on the horizon - even for me, at 61!

I hope you have found a resource to provide the best possible solution to tie you over till that miracle occurs for us. Meantime, I’d mouth a message to that ENT and see if he could lip read this: You JERK!

mandyj87, If it’s any comfort, I doubt that antibiotic given years ago would cause delayed-reaction hearing loss. For me, I had immediate and eternal tinnitus caused by an ear infection at 14 that I treated with Coricidin! I already had a history of child-related ear infections, so the die was cast early on. Plus everyone in my family is deaf, so it was a foregone conclusion I’d also be wearing HAs some day. The main thing is to go forward now and take care of your situation. If your loss is significant enough to warrant aids - GET THEM!

The younger you are when you start wearing HAs, the easier it is to adapt to them. I got my first pair at 32 - like a duck to water, it was SO easy to live with them. By contrast, many seniors who - after YEARS of family/friends/colleagues screamin’ at them get aids, they fight the reality and HATE them! I’ve known handfuls of seniors who buy aids only to never wear them, saying “It’s too noisy!” What they lack is fortitude, patience and the ability to articulate WHAT they want to hear and HOW they want to hear it. The whole point of aids is not to boost all sound till you’re cuckoo! It’s to compensate for frequencies that need boosting, and add clarity where it’s needed.

Good luck with your situation and keep us posted!

Specialists can be so incredibly insensitive, can’t they!!! As a former NP, it used to anger me when specialists would say things like that to my patients. My current neurotologist, who is my (now) dear friend’s husband, said pretty much the same thing to me when I first met him a little less than three years ago. (I didn’t know his wife at that time.) He told me that I should be deaf in my right ear already because of the enlarged vestibular aqueduct in that ear, and that I should “urgently” plan on taking speech-reading courses as I would “almost certainly be deaf” (in my right ear) within two years of my first visit with him. Well…clearly I wasn’t deaf already in my right ear when I met him;) And I’m not deaf in that ear now. Admittedly, my hearing is deteriorating in that ear regularly, but it’s still only in the moderate hearing loss category. I think oftentimes when specialists can’t predict a certain path, they tell patients the worst case scenario. That way, if the worst case doesn’t happen, patients can feel some relief about things not being that bad.


I am similar. 20 with a severe loss in both ears. Ruptured eardrum on the left. We only really caught on to how bad it was last year. I should’ve seen the signs a lot earlier (not understanding conversation, not hearing loud things right behind me) but my ENT said that the person with the loss is usually the last to notice. I was described by one friend as being very aloof before getting my hearing aids, there, but not really. Did you ever have yourself checked by an ENT? Mine thinks my loss was caused by measles and infections, but it’s all guesswork. The most important thing is to keep up with hearing aids, and lip reading. Any future kids you have should also be vetted in case it is genetic.

Keep in mind that hearing loss due to illnesses doesn’t necessarily make it hereditary.

I would say that even if it were genetic, and it may not be in your case, don’t worry about it too much. My case is genetic for sure because my maternal grandmother had hearing loss, so did my mom as they started aging, and my 2 youngest sibling were born deaf. Luckily me and my other 4 siblings had normal hearing until we started getting older. But all of our children don’t seem to have hearing issues so far. Even one of my deaf siblings married a hearing impaired (but not deaf) spouse, and their children have normal hearing. So I wouldn’t worry too much about passing on bad hearing genes to offsprings or anything like that and just live life the fullest.