Hearing loss is a condition that almost all people will experience in some capacity at some point in their lives. According to recent statistics from the Mayo Clinic, about half of the population of the United States over the age of 65 are living with some form of hearing loss. While there are many different solutions to reduce the impact of the loss, you may find it helpful to take a step back and assess the more common reasons people lose the ability to hear. Knowing about hearing loss causes can highlight some key details.
From age-related loss to hearing issues that come about from medications, there are a multitude of reasons you may be dealing with reduced hearing. Take time to review the most common reasons for hearing ailments and find the right answer to your problem.
The Breakdown of Hearing Loss
Presbycusis is the name given to the age-driven degenerative process of the human ear’s hearing abilities. As a person gets older, the odds of developing presbycusis in some capacity increase. Health professionals break hearing loss into three specific categories to help define where the issue is originating. Conductive loss happens in the middle or outer ear, sensorineural loss occurs in the inner ear, and a mixed loss involves both regions in some capacity. Pinpointing the area the loss is occurring can help your doctor find an appropriate solution.
Unilateral hearing loss can also be important to note. This is a type of loss that occurs only in one ear, as opposed to loss that affects both ears. Though knowing where the issue has spawned from will provide some insight into your issue, you also want to dive into the “why” of what causes hearing loss. The following scenarios tend to be the most commonplace.
As mentioned, age-related loss is the most widespread source of hearing issues. As the human body ages, degeneration occurs within the structure of the inner ear. As this happens, a person will notice his or her ability to hear has diminished. The process cannot be reversed or stopped when it is caused by age, but it can be combated with appropriate equipment. Aids and other devices have long been used to help older individuals regain their hearing.
Another common source of hearing loss in people of all ages is exposure and proximity to loud noises. Hearing loss that is induced by loud sounds can happen in a few different ways. For some, it develops over the course of time. The longer you are around loud sounds in a consistent way, the easier it is for your hearing to diminish as the years wear on. The same is true if you listen to music in your headphones at a high volume for long stretches.
While the ear can recover from certain sounds, it is more difficult for repairs to happen when you are always exposing yourself to loud and disruptive noises. Should permanent damage be done to the cells of the inner ear hairs, the loss could even be permanent. Experts state that noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented with proper precautions, so try to reduce your exposure to loud and disruptive noises whenever possible.
Studying the human genome has unearthed a wealth of fascinating information about how and why people are the way they are. Everything a person is and will be is encoded in his or her DNA, including information about hearing. If there is a genetic history of hearing loss in your family, you could be susceptible to hereditary hearing loss. Issues that develop by way usually come from a parent passing a trait down to a child, with scientists stating that there are hundreds of recorded genetic issues that impact hearing alone.
Unlike age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, it can be difficult to track the severity of the genetic loss. Issues can range from mild to severe and even be one of the main causes of deafness, so it is always best to have your hearing assessed by a professional to develop a strategy to ease the symptoms.
Hearing loss causes come from a variety of sources. For example, there are certain illnesses that can lead to a person losing his or her ability to hear. The most common example of this is an ear infection. While infections of this part of the ear typically happen most commonly in children, the problem can spiral out of control if left untreated. Meniere’s disease is another issue that can result in inconsistent hearing loss, as well as other ear issues like tinnitus. Finally, otosclerosis is a disease that directly impacts the ear and causes conductive hearing loss.
Though it might be expected that illness is one of the common hearing loss causes, many individuals are surprised to hear that certain medications can also contribute to this problem. If you are taking certain ototoxic drugs to fight other illnesses or conditions, it could result in hearing loss over the course of time. For example, chemotherapy drugs can sometimes contribute to diminished hearing. The same is true of certain diuretics and aminoglycoside antibiotics. Your healthcare professional will provide you with information on how you should react in the event that medication causes such issues.
When you’re concerned about hearing loss causes, you absolutely want to take time to look over all potential sources. The more you know about these threats, the easier it will be to formulate a plan that helps you combat the impact of the loss. Reach out to hearing-loss professionals in Scottsdale and take active steps toward protecting your ability to hear.
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