The Top 7 Causes of Hearing Loss You Should Know AboutPublished On: 18th November 2018
Last Updated On: 19th November 2018
Over 466 million people of all ages around the world have disabling hearing loss. Millions more have hearing loss in one or both ears that isn’t considered severe enough to be a disability. Their hearing loss is still noticeable and affects their everyday lives.
While there are many unavoidable causes of hearing loss, it’s estimated that 60% of childhood hearing loss is preventable.
In this article, we’re going to take you through seven of the most common causes of hearing loss and what you can do to prevent it in you and your children.
One of the most common causes of hearing loss also happens to be one that isn’t preventable: aging.
As we age, the bones, hairs, and other internal parts of our ears age with us. This leads to them not working as well and, thus, results in hearing loss. However, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate hearing loss that’s a result of age from other lifestyle factors.
After all, not all elderly people have the same level of hearing loss. In fact, some elderly people have little or no hearing loss while others go completely deaf.
So, while age is an important factor and a common cause of hearing loss, it’s likely that other causes contribute as well.
2. Exposure to Loud Noise
Long-term exposure to loud noises can lead to permanent loss of hearing in one or both ears. If you work in an environment where loud noise is inevitable, such as concerts, airports, or festivals, it’s imperative that you wear protective gear for your ears.
It’s not only long-term exposure, either. Explosions can lead to sudden hearing loss even after exposure to the loud noise only once.
It also doesn’t have to be extreme noises like explosions that can cause hearing loss. Going to concerts, nightclubs, and blasting your music in your headphones can all lead to hearing loss.
To prevent hearing loss, be aware of how loud things are playing, and be sure to wear protective ear devices when dealing with loud noises.
Certain infections can cause hearing loss if not treated or left untreated. In fact, viral infections lead to 40% of acquired hearing loss cases. Some examples of viruses that can lead to hearing loss include:
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
Often, these viruses cause hearing loss in children and babies before they receive vaccines against them. However, many of the viruses that can cause hearing loss are common, with hearing loss as a rare side effect of the infection.
The best thing you can do to prevent this type of hearing loss is vaccinate your children and maintain proper hygiene to avoid getting infected. If you become infected, it’s imperative to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Head injuries like concussions and TBI (traumatic brain injury) can lead to hearing loss. This can sometimes be permanent, but may also be temporary as well, depending on what’s affected by the head injury.
Was the auditory canal damaged? Were bones in the inner ear broken? Were the inner ear fluids forced out of balance?
If you have noticed hearing loss after an injury, you need to see a doctor right away. They’ll be able to determine if the hearing loss is temporary, permanent, or needs surgical intervention.
To prevent this from happening to you, be sure to wear a helmet when playing impact sports, riding a bike, skateboarding, etc.
5. Ear Disease
There are a few particular ear diseases that can lead to hearing loss.
Meniere’s disease is a disorder that affects the inner ear. Symptoms of this disease include vertigo, ringing in the ears, and progressive hearing loss that leads to permanent deafness.
The exact cause of this disease isn’t known, so it’s important to see a doctor ASAP when you notice any of the symptoms.
This disease affects the middle ear. Specifically, it affects the bones in the middle ear, making it harder for them to move.
While this can lead to hearing loss, surgery can often treat the disease.
Autoimmune disorders are illnesses that cause the body to attack itself. This often leads to hearing loss as the body destroys the parts of the ear that are necessary for proper hearing.
While this often leads to sudden hearing loss, medical treatment can help to minimize the amount of hearing loss you experience.
Genetics play a large part in hearing loss and deafness. Some children are born with hearing loss or with complete deafness because of genetics. Others are born with abnormal ear anatomy which leads to hearing loss or deafness.
This cause is one that isn’t preventable, especially because there isn’t a “hearing gene” to focus on. Many different factors impact our ability to hear. These factors include different genes, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and more.
Certain medications can cause hearing loss. Some examples of medications that can lead to hearing loss include:
- Aspirin (in large amounts)
- Loop diuretics
- Certain types of antibiotics
- Vicodin (in large amounts)
If you notice hearing loss when on any of these medications, speak with your doctor about whether it’s safe to stop taking the medication or switch to a different one. This type of hearing loss is often permanent.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss: Final Thoughts
While the thought of hearing loss is scary, there are ways you can prevent it. Knowing the common causes of hearing loss is your first step in minimizing your chance of hearing loss.
If you have experienced hearing loss, don’t worry. Hearing aids can treat up to 95% of people with hearing loss. Read more about the best hearing aid options available on our website.