Hearing loss develops when there is a problem with one or more parts of the ear. For many people, hearing loss is a normal part of aging and its onset is so gradual that they do not notice the deterioration of their hearing. But in addition to aging, hearing loss can be caused by other factors. The causes of hearing loss may vary but the main ones are:
- Heredity: One of the causes of hearing loss is heredity. However, a much more common phenomenon is fetal diseases, diseases of the mother that are passed on to the fetus during pregnancy, and have a direct impact on the hearing ability of the child. In addition to these diseases, there is also the fact that taking medications during pregnancy can also significantly affect the fetus.
- Acquired Hearing Loss: Acquired hearing loss can be due to: a) Diseases of the middle and inner ear such as chronic otitis media, rupture or perforation of the eardrum, mastoiditis, otosclerosis, Meniere's syndrome; or b) An extraordinary event that occurred in our life such as head injury (fractures of the earlobes), prolonged use of ototoxic drugs, or acoustic trauma (a harmful effect of noise to the inner ear, and can be either short and loud or longer and of lower intensity, as both can damage the hair inside the ear).
- Presbycusis: Presbycusis is a result of the normal aging of the body and has to do with the degeneration of the cells of the inner ear. Of course, this does not mean that it’s destined since a large number of older people do not have even the slightest hearing loss even at the age of 80-90.
Neurosensory Hearing Loss
Having neurosensory hearing loss means that there is damage to either the tiny hair cells in your inner ear or the nerve pathways leading from your inner ear to the brain. It usually affects both ears. Once you develop neurosensory hearing loss, you have it for the rest of your life. It can be mild, moderate, severe or intense.
Most often, the recommended treatment is hearing aids programmed for hearing loss. Simply amplifying all the sounds will not help you hear better because some sounds will still be distorted. Proper testing and placement is vital. In some cases, especially if the hearing loss is severe or severe, a cochlear implant may be the best choice. If you suspect you may have sensorineural hearing loss, the first step to better hearing is to have a thorough hearing examination by a qualified hearing professional. They can work with you to determine the cause and extent of your hearing loss, as well as develop a personalized program to treat it.
And please do keep in mind that children can suffer from hearing loss too, so it’s also important to get a kids’ hearing checked!
Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden hearing loss is not as common as gradual hearing loss and requires immediate attention. You should immediately see an otolaryngologist and the start of treatment should begin right away with appropriate oral or intravenous treatment. Sometimes, sudden hearing loss is connected to some type of illness or because of an overexposure to loud noise which has temporarily damaged the ear. To help determine the exact cause, a clinical laboratory examination will focus on the history of injury, earache, fever, focal neurological symptoms, headache, diplopia, recent redness or eye pain, and if there has been a previous history of hearing loss.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss
- Avoid excessive noise: Sounds from motorcycles, music players, and power tools such as saws and drills are all loud enough to damage your hearing over time, so try to limit exposure. And remember, turn down the music on your phone!
- Wear earplugs more: Earplugs are usually made of foam or rubber. They fit into the ear canal and can reduce noise by 15 to 30 decibels. You can also buy earmuffs, as these tend to fit your ears perfectly. Some earplugs are designed to reduce noise levels evenly at all frequencies. These are useful for people, such as musicians, who need to limit their sound without distorting it.
- Quit the cigs: Exposure to cigarette smoke has been linked to an increased risk of hearing loss. Research has shown that smoking, age, and exposure to noise can collectively increase a person's risk of hearing loss. So if you smoke, maintaining your hearing is another good reason to quit! If you do not smoke, make sure you avoid secondhand smoke, as this can affect it too.