Watch this video and experience what it is like to have a hearing loss. More than 28 million people in the U.S. have a hearing loss that impacts their abilities to communicate. Hearing loss occurs as a result of some form of damage or malfunction within the auditory system. A variety of factors can cause damage or malfunction. Some forms of hearing loss are hereditary, while others can stem from infections, aging, medications, disease, head injury or excessive noise exposure. In rare instances hearing loss can result from an acoustic neuroma (aka vestibular schwannoma or VS) — a tumor occurring on the balance nerve.