The ability to hear is an essential ingredient for a happy life for any person. Thanks to this ability, we can contact the outside world, perceive external sounds, and communicate with other people.
Any hearing impairment leads to physical and psychological disorders, weakening of thinking, and developmental difficulties. Besides, the need to constantly ask people again during a conversation does not add self-confidence.
Audiologists have diagnosed a variety of hearing problems in millions of Americans. Unfortunately, this figure only increases every year. Many of our patients often ask the question: “How could the development of the problem be prevented?” To answer it, you need to understand the causes of hearing loss.
What are the top causes of hearing loss?
According to statistics, today about 40 million citizens of our country suffer from various types of hearing loss. Despite all the measures taken, the figure is constantly increasing. This is due to the different causes of hearing loss, which can appear in almost any person.
Our hearing care professional, Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro has compiled a list of top causes of hearing loss based on her wealth of experience. We advise you to pay attention to it if you care about your health. Why do millions of Americans suffer from this problem, after all?
It’s one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Most people begin to gradually lose their hearing around the age of 30-40. Over the years, the process only intensifies. 30-35% of people aged 65-75 suffer from hearing impairments, and after 75 years their number is up to 60%. By the age of 80, most people experience significant hearing loss.
By this time, the hair cells of the auditory nerve are badly worn out. As a result, the auditory receptors lose their function. With age-related hearing loss, it becomes more difficult for a person to perceive high-frequency sounds, for example, women’s or children’s voices, as well as consonants. It becomes more difficult to understand speech in a noisy environment, as well as to determine the source of the sound. Typically, hearing loss develops in both ears at the same time.
It’s another very common hearing loss cause today. The problem occurs due to prolonged exposure to loud noises. Many people might think that noise only affects people in a particular profession, such as factory workers, machinists, construction workers, or musicians. However, one should not think that a noisy environment is a problem only for certain categories of citizens.
Today, the inhabitants of the modern city suffer from a noisy environment in the same way as professionals. According to the WHO, more than 1 billion young people aged 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss from noise exposure. People who live near busy highways, who often use the subway, can also experience hearing problems when they are young. Teenagers often listen to music with headphones at maximum volume, which is also very harmful!
Hereditary hearing loss
The name speaks for itself. If your close relatives have hearing loss, then the likelihood of developing the problem is very high for you. You should especially carefully monitor the health of your hearing, and immediately seek help at the first symptoms of a problem.
Today there are different types of tests for hearing loss. Thanks to them, the audiologist will be able to quickly make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Illness-related hearing loss
How often have you thought that a simple cold or flu can lead to hearing loss? You might be surprised, but infections affecting different parts of the ear are one of the common causes of temporary or permanent hearing loss. Under the age of 15, infectious diseases rank first among the causes of hearing loss that could be prevented (30% of all cases).
Various diseases can lead to complications, which harm the ears. Particular attention should be paid to otitis media. The infection affects both children and adults. A common symptom of the disease is the presence congestion in the ear, headache, and hearing impairment.
Middle ear infections, also called acute otitis media, cause pain and inflammation in the ears. Their main reason is complications of diseases (colds, acute respiratory infections, flu, etc.). In rare cases, allergy or injury.
At the same time, some other diseases can also lead to hearing loss by themselves or as a result of complications developing against their background. The following diseases are closely associated with hearing loss:
Various head and ear injuries
Injuries and damage to the ear, craniocerebral trauma can lead to hearing loss. The category also includes acoustic trauma (due to exposure to very loud sounds) and barotrauma (due to exposure to atmospheric pressure).
Traumatic hearing loss is usually caused by fractures of the temporal bone or injuries from a fall or blows to the head. The problem is mostly temporary, lasting up to several months. The restoration of auditory perception occurs gradually. However, in some cases, the patient’s condition, on the contrary, worsens.
Medication side effects
We all know perfectly well that medications not only cure, but can also harm the body. Therefore, before taking them, you should carefully read the possible side effects. The following groups of ototoxic drugs can cause hearing problems:
Anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs
Some aminoglycoside antibiotics
Exposure to negative factors during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a very important stage in a woman’s life. After all, it is during this period that the fetus is formed. The influence of various external factors can negatively affect the health of the unborn child, including his hearing. First of all, infectious diseases (rubella, flu, etc.) are also dangerous, which can give complications to the fetus. Therefore, women during pregnancy should closely monitor their health.
What should I do if I have some symptoms of hearing loss?
If you find symptoms of hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, you should immediately seek help. The sooner assistance is provided, the easier the recovery process will be. An audiologist will conduct a diagnostic hearing evaluation to identify hearing loss causes and prescribe appropriate treatment. Modern medicine has a wide range of methods and technical devices, which restore lost hearing.
Particular attention should be paid to TeleAudiology. This term encompasses various distance hearing care services. It is especially true during a pandemic and quarantine measures. Thanks to TeleAudiology, you will receive a highly qualified doctor’s assistance without leaving your home. Just contact Audiology Island and soon you will forget about your problem!
Useful tips to prevent the problem
There are many potential causes of hearing loss, and nearly every American is at risk. However, you can greatly reduce your chances of developing a problem by following these simple preventative tips:
A correct lifestyle without bad habits, following safe sleep and rest practices, as well as a balanced diet rich in vitamins guarantee the safety of your health
Treat ear diseases and other nasopharyngeal infections in time
During epidemics, avoid large crowds to minimize the risk of infection
Do not forget about proper ear hygiene, do not use unsuitable objects for cleaning the ear canal
When swimming in the pool, wear a cap. After that, be sure to rinse your ears with clean water and pat them dry with a towel
Avoid activities, which can lead to head injury
If you work in a noisy environment, be sure to use industrial headphones or industrial earbuds
Remember, hearing is not just ears. It allows us to participate in the life of the people around us. We must not neglect such an important ability given to us by nature!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]