Hearing loss occurs a lot more frequently than most people might think. That’s because, contrary to what the appearance might suggest, the human ears are quite fragile. The auditory system is made up of a sensitive collection of nerves and tissue working together. There are over a 100 different possible causes of hearing loss. However, most of these can be broadly fitted under the following categories.
Noise : Hearing loss is sometimes caused by the sudden or sustained exposure to loud sounds. It may occur gradually or instantly depending on the intensity of the sound. The decibel level of a normal conversation between two people is 60dB. This is considered to be a healthy value.
Individuals exposed to sounds higher than 75 dB, stand a strong risk of developing some degree of hearing loss over the long term. People exposed to even louder sound – above 100dB – may develop instant hearing loss. For instance, the sound of a gunshot or jet engine is over 120 dB.
To prevent hearing loss caused by loud noise, people are encouraged to avoid places with high sound levels. Individuals who work in factories where loud equipment is being used are advised to wear ear guards to reduce the amount of noise their ears are exposed to.
Some Different Causes of Hearing Loss Include
Blocked Ear-way : Objects trapped within the auditory canal will almost definitely affect a person’s ability to hear properly. Blocked ear ways may be caused by foreign factors such as a toy or natural factors such as the excessive build up of ear wax. In each of these cases, natural hearing can be restored by successfully removing the interfering object. Objects within the auditory canal are best handled by a skilled physician. Attempting to do it on your own may lead to further damage.
Illness : Hearing loss can occur, arise as a symptom or fall out of an illness. Young children who suffer from viral infections such as measles or mumps may develop structural complications leading to hearing loss. Hearing loss is also possible with individuals experiencing illnesses, where their blood pressure is too high or low. The irregular supply of blood to the auditory system may affect how it functions. Common examples of illnesses include diabetes, ocstosclerosis, high blood pressure and cancer.
Aging : People are likely to develop some degree of hearing loss as they get older. This may be caused by structural changes in the body or as a result of genetic factors. Age related hearing loss can also be the outcome of persistent exposure to different contributory factors. This type of hearing loss is particularly common among people aged over 65. It is estimated that 1 out of every 3 persons above the age of 65 has some form of hearing loss. The ratio is even higher with individuals older than 75 (2 out of 3). Age related hearing loss causes are commonly described as presbycusis.
Medication : In some cases, the use of medication may lead to the onset of hearing loss in some people. Several drugs have been shown to cause some degree of hearing loss as the direct (or indirect) result of their use. There are hundreds of chemical compounds that are known to potentially cause hearing loss as a side effect. For instance, hearing loss is listed as a possible side effect with popular drugs such as aspirins and antibiotics. Antibiotic induced hearing loss is a fairly common side effect. Hearing loss is also a possible effect with people taking medication for cancer, malaria or low blood sugar. Medication that affects the hormonal balance and blood pressure may lead to physiological changes that may encourage hearing loss.
Sudden Hearing Loss : Like the name suggests, individuals with sudden hearing loss, experience a rapid loss of their hearing. It may occur instantly or over the period of several hours. Sudden hearing loss may lead to permanent loss of hearing or reverse itself after a brief period. 1 out of every 10 cases of sudden hearing loss, however leads to near deafness. In many cases, the exact cause of sudden hearing loss is never really discovered. Common hearing loss causes, however, include sudden head trauma, extremely intense noise and an exposure to toxic drugs.
It is vital that people immediately visit a doctor once they notice that their hearing appears to be impaired. There are different treatments that may be used depending on the hearing loss cause. Most conductive hearing loss causes can be treated or reversed if they are discovered early enough. However, sensorineural hearing loss causes are a lot more difficult to correct. In such cases, doctors may offer alternative support measures designed to improve a person’s hearing and prevent it from deteriorating.