Latest posts by Debra Swift, BC-HIS (see all)
- Strange Causes of Hearing Loss - October 31, 2019
- Falls & Accidents Are More Likely with Hearing Loss - October 29, 2019
- Link Between Stress and Hearing Loss - October 29, 2019
Do not take your ears for granted. Many people around the world are affected by hearing related issues. Proper diagnosis and treatment can help these patients have a better quality of life.
How Prevalent is Hearing Loss?
Around 48 million people in the United States are suffering from some form of hearing impairment. As we age, we are naturally predisposed to developing hearing related issues. Hearing impairment is considered to be a common health issue, both within the United States and globally. People who are aged around 60 to 69 have the greatest amount of hearing impairment. Men are typically more likely to develop a hearing related issue than women. Women usually have more difficulty than men hearing at frequencies that are lower. Besides aging, other health conditions are connected to hearing impairment. Hearing loss can affect every person differently.
The Three Main Types of Hearing Loss
The three main types of hearing loss are called sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. Sensorineural is the most common type of hearing impairment. This type of hearing impairment is typically caused by the natural aging process or noise damage. This is when the inner ear has become damaged and cannot send proper sound signals to the brain. Conductive hearing impairment usually occurs when there is an obstruction in the ear. This prevents sound from getting to the middle ear. A person experiencing this may hear muffled voices or sounds that may sound distant. Mixed hearing impairment is a combination of the two.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing damage can be temporary or permanent. The onset of hearing impairment can happen over the course of many years or happen within a few days. Listed below are common causes of hearing impairment.
The natural aging process can lead to hearing damage. This may be due to underlying factors or damage to the inner ear that has occurred over time. Hair cells that are inside our ears help us hear by picking up on sound waves. As we age, we typically have less of these hair cells because once they die, they never grow back. This type of damage is permanent.
Impacted Ear Wax
Our ear canals help to move sound to your eardrum. If we are experiencing any blockages, then the sound will not be transmitted properly. Having too much wax built up can cause voices and other sounds to sound muffled. This is one of the most common causes of hearing related issues. Other foreign bodies that are located in the ear canal will have the same effect.
The eardrum is sensitive and vulnerable to perforation or infection. This is why it is not advised to put anything inside your ear canal, including cotton swabs.
Strange Causes of Hearing Loss
You may be surprised by some of the strange causes of hearing impairment listed down below. It is important to be aware of all potential causes and symptoms. If you are experiencing hearing impairment, it is vital to speak to a professional audiologist or other hearing professional.
Shingles is also known as herpes zoster. While it typically occurs in the older population, it can also happen to anyone. If you had chickenpox as a child, then the shingles virus is dormant in your body. When active, this virus can cause painful nerve damage and a rash that wraps around one side of the body. This condition can cause severe hearing impairment on the side of the body that is affected. However, if treatment is sought promptly, the damage may not be permanent.
Being involved in a vehicle accident can be a scary situation for anyone. But, did you know that when the airbags deploy in an accident it can cause permanent hearing damage? Airbags are amazing life saving devices, however the noise levels emitted by deployment can cause serious damage to your ears.
Drugs that are platinum-based can increase the risk of cancer patients experiencing hearing damage. These drugs are commonly used in chemotherapy. If you are experiencing hearing impairment, it is important to speak with your doctor or professional audiologist promptly.
Leaving issues related to hearing untreated can cause anxiety, depression, and other disorders in both the person experiencing the impairment and loved ones around them. Although it grows in prevalence with age, this condition is most often ignored. A proper diagnosis can lead to treatment options to enhance a patient’s quality of life.
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and struggle with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!