Men and women tend to lose their hearing as they age. In fact, approximately a third of all adults between the ages of 65 and 75 experience some hearing loss. When a person reaches the age of 75, they have a 50 percent chance of experiencing hearing loss. This loss comes in one of three types.
Conductive loss affects the outer or middle ear, sensorineural loss involves the inner ear, and mixed loss combines both types. While the aging process accounts for some hearing loss, chronic exposure to loud noises contributes to the problem. In addition, other things might affect a person’s hearing, such as a buildup of earwax. Hearing loss, in most cases, can’t be reversed. For this reason, it’s critical to protect your hearing from a young age.
Signs of Hearing Loss
How can a person tell if they are losing their hearing? When speech and other sounds appear muffled, hearing loss may be to blame. Some people find it difficult to hear consonants in words when their hearing is bad, and a person who is experiencing hearing loss will find they must ask others to speak up or slow down and speak clearly to understand what they are saying. A person might find they must turn the TV or radio up to hear it properly or discover they struggle to hear others in a crowd or when there is background noise. People who have issues with their hearing often find they avoid certain social situations because of this loss, or they withdraw from conversations because they can’t hear others clearly. People can learn more about the signs of hearing loss by going to earpeace.com.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Any time a person suddenly loses their hearing, they need medical attention immediately. However, if the hearing loss has been slowly coming on, it’s time to see a doctor. Age-related hearing loss needs investigation, as there may be other causes contributing to the problem that respond well to treatment.
What Leads to Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss occurs for several reasons. Individuals must seek medical care to learn what is leading to their issues. Don’t assume it is a natural part of aging and let it go. What are some causes of hearing loss?
Damage to the inner ear affects a person’s hearing. Repeated exposure to loud noise and the aging process both affect the nerve cells in the cochlea. This auditory structure transmits sound signals to the brain, and damage to the nerve cells interferes with this transmission. For individuals with this type of hearing loss, it becomes difficult to hear other people when there is background noise. In addition, high-pitched tones often sound muffled, making it difficult for the person to hear them clearly.
Earwax can build up in the ear canal and block it. When this happens, the conduction of sound waves comes to a halt. Removal of this blockage helps to restore the hearing. For this reason, any hearing loss needs investigation by a doctor, as there may be a simple fix.
People often associate ear infections with children, but adults may get them too. An infection can lead to hearing loss, and the same holds true for abnormal growths in the ear or tumors.
A ruptured eardrum interferes with a person’s hearing, and many things can cause this damage. A loud blast of noise or a sudden change in air pressure has been known to rupture the eardrum. However, inserting something into the ear can do this damage or an infection might rupture the eardrum and bring about hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Risk Factors
Aging damages the hairs and nerve cells present in the inner ear, and this degeneration of the inner ear structures contributes to hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises likewise damages these cells, and the exposure could be one time or happen repeatedly and bring about the harm. However, a person’s genetic makeup could make a person more likely to develop ear damage because of the aging process or damage from loud noises. Occupational noises contribute to the problem, as certain industries allow for repeated exposures to sounds that could damage the hearing.
Nevertheless, recreational noises, such as exposure to jet engines, can lead to permanent hearing loss, even if the exposure only occurs once. Snowmobiling, carpentry, enjoying music at loud volumes, shooting firearms, and motorcycles contribute to this issue. Certain medications can also damage the structures of the ear. This includes some chemotherapy drugs and gentamicin, an antibiotic. Men and women need to speak with their doctor and understand the risks associated with any medications the doctor prescribes for them. What many people don’t know is certain over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, when taken in high doses, can lead to hearing loss. The same is true of antimalarial drugs, loop diuretics, and certain pain relievers. Furthermore, certain illnesses damage the cochlea when they come with a high fever.
Preventing hearing loss remains the best way to protect your ears. Avoid exposure to loud noises or limit the intensity and duration. Many people use glycerin-filled earmuffs or plastic earplugs when working so their ears don’t sustain damage. Hearing tests need carried out routinely, especially for those who work in an environment filled with loud noises. People who have already lost some of their hearing need to prevent additional damage, and earplugs can be of help with this.
When engaging in recreational activities that are accompanied by loud noises, wear ear protection. If possible, take breaks from the noise to protect the ears, and keep music at a reasonable level rather than blasting it. Doing so protects your hearing.
Men and women may find any hearing loss they have already suffered can benefit from treatment with hearing aids or other devices. However, this isn’t the case for all individuals. For this reason, every person must work to protect their hearing from a young age. Those who do so find they can hear clearly well into their senior years and enjoy life to the fullest. For those who already have hearing loss, seek medical help right away. Doing so can prevent further loss while allowing you to discuss treatment options so you can hear more clearly once again.