Hearing loss due to increasing age is one of the common reasons for deafness. Half of the people in the U.S who have crossed the age of 65 tend to show signs of hearing loss.
It has been one of the emerging problems in the world now, and it’s only growing day by day.
Hearing loss or deafness are of three types:
- Sensorineural ( it involves the inner ear )
- Conductive ( it involves the middle or outer ear )
- Mixed ( combination of conductive and sensorineural )
Chronic exposure and aging to severe ear-splitting noises can result in hearing loss or deafness. Other factors can contribute to hearing loss, like excessive earwax. It can temporarily put a halt or even reduce your ears to conduct sounds.
And unfortunately, you can’t reverse most of the hearing loss. Although, your audiologist might provide you with treatments that can aid your hearing issues and improve your hearing difficulties.
Therefore, this article will emphasize the causes, risk factors, and possible treatments for hearing loss. So, do read it till the very end to know all the necessary information.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
There are times when patients don’t know they have partial hearing loss or deafness. And before they get to know about this, their hearing issues have already worsened.
So, here are some of the symptoms that can show an early sign of hearing loss.
- Difficulty in understanding words, especially when the crowd is noisy or there are too many background sounds.
- Facing problems hearing consonants.
- Frequently telling people to speak slowly, loudly, and clearly.
- Muffling of sounds and speech.
- Avoidance of social settings.
- Need to turn up the volume of the radio or television.
- Withdrawal from different kinds of conversations.
These are some of the early symptoms that show that you are facing specific problems with your hearing.
Although, not all of the symptoms show that you are facing substantial hearing issues. But I’ll still recommend consulting with professionals before things go South!
When to Take the Appointment of an Audiologist?
If you face issues like a sudden hearing loss, especially in a particular ear, then you need to seek an audiologist as soon as possible.
Talk to your doctor and speak up about all the everyday challenges you face regarding your hearing problems.
Either it’s a mild or moderate hearing issue, an expert audiologist can provide you with effective treatments. But the moment you start to take your symptoms lightly, that is when you are putting the final nails in the coffin to your hearing!
Causes of Hearing Loss
Many reasons can cause hearing loss to people. Here are some of the most common and significant reasons for deafness.
- Inner ear damage: Exposure to loud noises and aging might result in the wear and tear on the nerve and hair cells in your ear’s cochlea responsible for sending sound signals to your brain.
So, when these nerve or hair cells get missing or damaged, electrical signals can’t be efficiently transmitted, and hearing loss or deafness will take place.
Moreover, high-pitched sounds and tones might become muffled to you. It can even be a challenge for you to pick words in background noises.
- The buildup of the earwax: The earwax can block your ear canal and prevent the conduction of the sound waves. So, earwax removal can be enough to restore your hearing.
- Abnormal bone growth, tumors, and ear infection: Any of these in the middle or inner ear can cause deafness.
- Ruptured Eardrum: Loud noises and sudden changes in the pressure, or even poking with any object can lead to the rupture of your eardrum. Even infections in the ear can cause your eardrum to rupture.
The factors that might damage your inner ear include:
- Loud Noises: Loud noises can damage the cells of the inner ear. These damages can be due to long-term loud noise exposures. Even a sharp and short blast such as a gunshot can result in instant ear damage.
- Aging: As you age, the inner ear structures start to degenerate over time. This can lead to ear damage as well.
- Recreational noises: Exposure to loud and explosive sounds like firearms or jet engines can cause severe and permanent damage to the ear. Further recreational noises can also include motorcycling, carpentry, listening to loud music, and also snowmobiling.
- Particular medications: Viagra and certain medications can gradually start to deteriorate your inner ear. This can lead to moderate or severe hearing loss.
Even certain chemotherapy drugs, high aspirin doses, antimalarial drugs, and even pain relievers can lead to tinnitus ( ringing in the ear ).
- Certain illnesses: Some illnesses or diseases that result in high fever can be a threat to hearing problems. For instance, meningitis can cause damage to your cochlea.
Possible Preventions from Future-Hearing Loss
The following are some of the steps that you can take to prevent future hearing loss:
- Protect the ears: Limit yourself to exposure to sound and other environmental noises. If your workplace is very noisy and surrounded by high-pitch machinery, make sure to use plastic earplugs to protect them from damage.
- Test your hearing: Ensure to go for a regular checkup with your audiologist and see whether you have any hearing impairment.
- Avoid any recreational activities: Snowmobiles, hunting, rock concerts, and even power tools can damage your ears. And if you attend any such activities, make sure to wear ear protectors.
Your ears are your assets, and you must look after them.
Taking precautions while you are performing any recreational activity will reduce your chances of developing any type of hearing impairment.
And if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, do make sure to consult with an expert to know your possible treatments.
Remember, the earlier you start the treatment, the faster your recovery chances will be!!