Hearing loss can be frustrating, especially when you are unaware of the reason behind it. Our sense of hearing is a delicate process that involves several parts of our body working in collaboration. While our ears pick up the sound signals, our brain interprets them. When any of the parts of our auditory system do not work as well as they should, hearing loss occurs.
Our sense of hearing tends to deteriorate over time due to a number of reasons. Much like our other senses, our sense of hearing is also prone to the daily wear and tear of the human body living in a busy world. As a result of this wear and tear, hearing loss may occur.
One of the most well known causes for hearing loss is aging. As we age, the delicate hair cells within our inner ears tend to deteriorate and die, which results in presbycusis, or hearing damage caused by advanced age. Even though aging may seem like it only affects the elderly population, people may begin to experience first signs of hearing loss even in their 30’s.
Loss of hearing is a gradual process and tends to worsen over time. Around 30% of those aged 65 to 75 have some form of hearing damage while those aged over 75 years have a 50% chance of having some type of hearing loss. This suggests that aging definitely has an adverse effect on hearing health.
Many of us know of another notorious threat to hearing health; exposure to loud noises. Noise induced hearing damage can occur at any point in a person’s lifetime. Be it listening to loud music or working in excessively noisy work environments, we live in a noisy world and this can lead to hearing loss.
As much as 80% of hearing loss cases tends to have some sort of hereditary aspect involving recessive genes. This means that if members of your family have hearing loss, there is a chance that you may develop it as well later in life.
Other causes of hearing loss involve medical conditions and illnesses. The list for this is vast, but it involves several serious diseases like measles, mumps, and meningitis. Sexually transmitted diseases such as Syphilis may also cause hearing loss, as can other autoimmune diseases. Infections of the ear and Meniere’s disease can also lead to hearing loss. Medical conditions such as strokes, acoustic neuroma, and multiple sclerosis may also have an adverse effect on hearing.
Hearing loss can also result from potential side effects of certain medications. In the vast field of pharmaceuticals, there are at least 200 known medications that can cause hearing loss. Alarmingly, many of these medications may already be present in your medicine cabinet! Common medications such as aspirin, quinine, arithromycin, various anti-depressants, antibiotics, diuretics, and chemotherapy medications like Cisplatin are known to cause hearing loss.
Thankfully, hearing loss is not always permanent. If there is an underlying infection that is causing your hearing loss, medically treating that infection can help alleviate hearing problems. Similarly, if conditions such as too much earwax are causing your hearing loss, a simple earwax removal procedure can help restore your hearing to its optimal level. No matter what the case, if you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, it is best to get your hearing tested by an audiologist to rule out permanent hearing damage.
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