Hearing loss, or presbycusis, is caused by age and continuous exposure to loud noises, a prevalent condition that worsens over time. This affects almost half of all Americans over the age of 65 who have some form of hearing loss. To boot, several types of hearing loss are classified between conductive (involves outer or middle ear), sensorineural (involves inner ear), or mixed (combination of the two). For this reason, it’s vital to learn more about this condition and how to address it effectively.
Understanding the Symptoms of Hearing Loss
As simple as excess earwax, for example, can even reduce sound transmission for a brief period of time. However, the majority of hearing loss problems are irreversible. These include:
- Muffled sounds of speech and other sounds
- Difficulty understanding words, especially in a crowd.
- Trouble hearing consonants.
- Constantly needing to increase the volume of appliances.
- Withdrawal from conversations.
- Avoiding social interactions and events.
Fortunately, you can seek medical help to improve your hearing and manage symptoms.
Understanding Your Own Hearing
The ear consists of three sections: the outside, the center, and the inside. For humans to hear sound, eardrum vibrations are caused by sound waves amplified by the eardrum and three middle ear bones. The vibrations are carried by the inner ear’s snail-shaped structure (cochlea).
Thousands of tiny hairs linked to nerve cells in the cochlea aid in converting sound vibrations into electrical signals conveyed to the brain. As a result, your brain interprets sound. Throughout this process, different physiological issues can lead to complications in properly receiving sound waves into the ear.
Breaking Down Causes of Hearing Loss
Once you experience symptoms, you must also inform yourself of the causes of hearing loss. It is caused by the following factors:
Damage to the Inner Ear
The hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea that transmit sound impulses to the brain may wear out with age and loud noise exposure. When these hairs or nerve cells are injured or destroyed, hearing loss occurs.
Earwax can plug the ear canal and prevent sound from being transmitted. Earwax removal can improve your hearing.
Eardrum rupture (tympanic membrane perforation) and hearing loss can be caused by loud noises, sudden pressure changes, items pinching your eardrum, and infection.
Sometimes, these variables are tied to your external and internal variables. The following are some of the elements that might injure or destroy inner ear hairs and nerve cells:
Inner ear structures deteriorate with age.
Loud noises can cause inner ear cell damage. Long-term exposure to loud noises, as well as a single loud burst, such as a gunshot, can be harmful. Other types of noises may include occupational noises, as well as recreational noises which may cause instant and long-term hearing impairment.
Your genes may make you more vulnerable to hearing loss, or factor into genetic diseases that lead to hearing loss.
Medications such as gentamicin, sildenafil (Viagra), and chemotherapy might induce inner ear damage. High doses of aspirin, other pain relievers, or loop diuretics may result in temporary hearing loss or ringing in the ears.
Illnesses and Diseases
High-fever infections, like meningitis, can harm the cochlea.
Learning How to Prevent f Hearing Loss
The following steps can be taken to avoid noise-induced hearing loss and age-related hearing loss:
- Keep your ears safe. Limiting your noise exposure time and intensity is the greatest way to protect yourself. Earplugs made of plastic or glycerin-filled earmuffs can assist in protecting your ears at work.
- Examine your hearing. Consider regular hearing tests in a noisy environment. You can prevent more hearing loss if you’ve already lost some hearing.
- Avoid excess recreational activities. Snowmobiling, hunting, power tools, and rock concerts can all cause long-term hearing damage. Noise reduction or hearing protection can safeguard your ears. Dimming the music can also help.
Making a Doctor’s Appointment
It’s important to note that it’s best to seek quick medical assistance if you suddenly lose hearing in one ear. In short, consult your doctor if your hearing loss is interfering with your daily life. Don’t let unreported hearing loss develop gradually over time.
Hearing loss can lead to a significant influence on your overall quality of life. This condition makes it difficult to function, socialize, and work–leading to feelings of loneliness and depression. Moreover, hearing loss may also be a sign of cognitive decline. Thus, correcting hearing loss is imperative for one’s overall health and performance.
For hearing care solutions, Hear More Associates is a Lexington-based professional organization led by the region’s most respected hearing care specialists. We offer hearing solutions and guarantee you the best hearing care package you need. Schedule your appointment with us today!