Hearing loss affects millions of Americans. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that approximately 15% of Americans aged 18 and up report having difficulty hearing.
As we grow older, hearing loss becomes more prevalent. By the time we’re 65 years old, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 adults have some type of hearing loss.
Most Common Causes of Hearing Loss
Understanding the various causes of hearing loss can help you protect your hearing in the future. The most common causes of hearing loss include:
The Natural Aging Process
As we grow older, more of us will experience hearing loss. Known as presbycusis, this type of hearing loss is down to the natural aging process. We have a number of delicate structures in our ears that play a crucial role in our ability to hear. Over time, these structures can be damaged which can lead to hearing loss.
You may be surprised to learn that noise is a common cause of hearing loss. Known as Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), it can affect people at any age. Noise can cause gradual hearing loss over time, or it can result in immediate damage to your hearing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 17% of Americans aged 20 – 69 years have had their hearing damaged by noise.
Other areas where your hearing could be at risk for dangerous noise is the workplace. If you work in a noisy environment like a factory, you should be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by your employer. Learn more about Noise Induced Hearing loss (NIHL) here.
Noise is one huge factor that can cause hearing loss. If you work in a noisy environment i.e a factory with machinery or an open plan office space, your employer should provide appropriate equipment and provisions to reduce the risk of noise induced hearing loss.
Up to 35% of age related hearing impairments are the result of genetic hearing loss. It’s possible that your genetics make you more likely to experience hearing loss at some point in your life.
Any substance that is considered toxic to your ear is known as ototoxic. Certain medications can result in hearing loss. This is known as ototoxic hearing loss. The first symptom of ototoxic hearing loss is often tinnitus, or a ringing in the ear.
Medications that are known as potentially ototoxic include:
- Aspirin in large amounts
- Certain chemotherapy drugs
There are over 200 medicines known to be ototoxic. For a more comprehensive list, please click here. If you suspect that you are experiencing ototoxic hearing loss, please contact your primary healthcare physician.
Some diseases or illnesses that cause a high fever can result in hearing loss. This is often down to the illness causing damage to the cochlea. These illnesses can include:
Identifying hearing loss can be challenging. For many people, hearing loss happens gradually over time. As a result, it can be difficult to identify the symptoms ourselves. In many cases, it’s our friends and family that first notice our hearing may have changed.
A hearing assessment is a pain-free, easy test that can help identify hearing loss. If you’d like to book in an appointment, the hearing healthcare specialists at Hearing Aid Specialists CT would be happy to help. Call us on 888-657-5768 to book your appointment. Alternatively, click here to request your appointment online.