Many people will find their ability to hear some sounds begins to decline around age 50. This is because hair cells in the cochlea, the spiral cavity in your inner ear, begin showing some wear and tear around that age.
But other causes of hearing loss can affect people much earlier in life. Sometimes an ear infection or other medical condition can cause hearing loss. Environmental factors can also affect hearing, from loud sounds like fireworks or gunshots to chemotherapy or medication side effects.
Still, the main cause of hearing loss is age. The cochlea in your ear has about 15,000 tiny hairs that transform sounds into electrical signals for your brain to process. Combined with the natural aging of your brain, the diminished function of these tiny hairs is one of the most common causes of hearing loss.