As the first port of call for all things hearing and balance related, it should be no surprise that many of the questions audiologists deal with have something to do with hearing loss. Approximately 15 percent of all adults experience some form of hearing loss, and many want to know the cause and if they can avoid it. Here, we’re going to look at four of the most common causes.
Exposure To Excessive Levels Of Noise
Too much loud noise can cause permanent damage to your hearing. For instance, spending a rock concert right beside a speaker or having a firework go off close to you can be enough to cause permanent damage. On the other hand, long-term listening through earphones at the highest volume can do the same. Any noise that’s over 85 decibels is a danger to your hearing health. The higher that noise gets over 85db, the shorter the period of time it takes to damage your hearing. If you have to expose yourself to environments with loud noise on a regular basis, it’s recommended you get hearing protection that can filter out certain kinds of noise.
Middle ear infections are the most common kind of infection. They are also known as otitis media, meaning inflammation of the ear. The swelling caused by the infection will almost immediately begin to have an impact on your hearing, not to mention causing acute earache. Getting an ear infection treated as soon as possible can mitigate the risk, but the damage caused by such an infection can cause permanent hearing loss.
Most of us are aware that hearing can tend to get worse as we age. There is one known cause of age-related hearing loss. It is related to changes in the shape of the inner ear as we grow, but can also be related to genetics, smoking, medical conditions like diabetes and more. Whatever the cause, we know that the tiny hair cells in our inner ears that pick up sound waves start to become damaged or die. In most cases, age-related hearing loss tends to affect our perception of high-pitched noises fir and foremost, while low-pitched noises may be perfectly audible for some. Hearing aids can help restore some of the balance.
If you suffer an injury to the head or the ear, you can do both short-term and lasting damage to your ear. Three bones in the ear play a huge role in the perception sound and should any of these move due to a blow, it may mean that sound isn’t sent to the inner ear properly. Injuries can also rupture the eardrum or damage the hairs in the ear. To find out whether injury-induced hearing loss or tinnitus is permanent or temporary, you should see your audiologist as soon as possible.
If you’re concerned that you’re suffering from hearing loss and you want a diagnosis, tips on preventing it from worsening or simply to find out why, visit your audiologist. A hearing examination could provide the answers you’re looking for.