As we grow older, many of us will lose some of our hearing. This is a fairly normal occurrence for senior citizens. However, it’s not always clear why we can lose our hearing.
From time to time, you may see people wearing hearing aids, which can prove to be very useful. Many people put the use of such devices down to old age, but the issue can be more complicated than that.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss
Some of the most common causes of hearing loss include:
- A build-up of ear wax – Ear wax can easily block some or all of the ear canal. When this happens, sound waves cannot be conducted. However, it’s usually fairly easy to remove ear wax, resulting in restored hearing.
- A ruptured ear drum – Sudden pressure changes, noise blasting, and even an object being poked in the ear can rupture the ear drum. Infections can also cause the ear drum to rupture.
- Damage to the inner ear – A lot of exposure to loud noise can cause damage to the inner ear. When this happens, the tiny hairs or nerve cells that are located in the cochlea fail to work well. The electrical signals that should be sent fail to send when the nerve cells or hairs become damaged. Aging can also cause damage to the inner ear.
- Ear infection – Whether the infection is located in the outer or the middle ear, it can cause some hearing loss.
Please note, the above list is not exhaustive. There may be other reasons as to why you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss. If you have lost some of your hearing recently, please speak to your doctor. They may be able to help you to get some of your hearing back or tell you how you can live with your hearing loss.
Everyday Risk Factors
Some of the everyday risk factors associated with loss of or damage to the nerve cells or hairs in your ear can include:
As we age, our inner ear structure may start to degenerate. It’s this that can cause some hearing loss.
Some people are more susceptible to hearing loss as they have inherited it. Hearing loss such as this could make people more prone to having age-related hearing loss or ear damage due to loud noises.
Some illnesses and diseases can cause hearing loss. Meningitis, for example, can potentially cause damage to the cochlea, resulting in a loss of hearing.
A lot of exposure to loud noises can potentially damage the inner ear’s cells. If the exposure is prolonged, hearing loss is likely. In addition to this, a short blast of loud noise can also cause hearing loss.
Chemotherapy drugs as well as some antibiotics and other medications can cause some damage to the inner ear. People who take a lot of pain killers, aspirin, and a few other medications can find that they have tinnitus and/or hearing loss. The hearing loss and tinnitus may disappear once the medication is no longer taken. However, this may not always be the case.
People who work in loud places such as factories, construction sites, farms, clubs, etc. may experience hearing loss over time. Many places of work often give their employees ear protection to use. However, they do not always guarantee that the wearer’s ears will be completely protected.
Noise from jet engines, fire arms, explosions, carpentry, motorcycles, and loud music can all have an impact. In some cases, permanent hearing loss may be experienced.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss
While there is no way of completely protecting someone from hearing loss, there are some preventative methods. These methods can help to ensure that people are less likely to experience a loss of hearing.
- Always protect your ears – One of the best things that you can do is to protect your ears whenever you can. Wear ear plugs or other forms of ear protection. They may not drown out the noise completely, but they can make a difference. Have some ear protection with you at all times so that you have it to hand when you need it.
- Don’t take any risks – Try not to undertake any activities that could damage your hearing. Activities such as using power tools, listening to loud music, or even riding a snow mobile can be quite risky. If you need to partake in any of the above activities, protect your hearing as much as you can. When we’re young, we may not care quite so much about our hearing. However, as we age, we can start to notice a few changes. The good news is that you can work to help prevent any further hearing loss.
- Get your hearing checked – If you work in a noisy area, consider having your hearing checked from time to time. You may have already lost some of your hearing due to the environment that you work in. However, you may be able to prevent even more hearing loss.
Use the above tips to help you to prevent hearing loss. It’s not always possible to avoid loud noises, however, doing what you can could make a difference.
If you have lost a significant amount of your hearing, you may be offered hearing aids. These devices can make sounds much louder and clearer. These days, hearing aids are very advanced, so much so that they can drown out specific noises if you wish them to. Please speak to your doctor if you are concerned about your hearing.
There are many reasons as to why people lose their hearing. Many of us only lose a little hearing as we age. Some people, however, lose quite a lot. The reasons for their hearing loss can be a combination of issues. If you have not yet lost any hearing, keep protecting your ears