Hearing loss is a common problem that affects millions of people around the world. While some hearing loss is a natural part of aging, other cases are acquired, meaning they are caused by external factors. Understanding the causes of acquired hearing loss is important for preventing or slowing down the progression of the condition. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of acquired hearing loss and discuss the importance of early detection and treatment.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
As we age, our bodies change, and our ears are no exception. One of the most common causes of hearing loss is presbycusis, which is caused by getting older. This kind of hearing loss happens when the hair cells that help us hear get damaged or die in the inner ear. As a result, sounds become muffled, and it becomes more difficult to hear high-pitched sounds.
Statistics show that one in three people over the age of 65 have age-related hearing loss, and the number increases to one in two for those over the age of 75. While age is a major risk factor for age-related hearing loss, there are other factors that can increase the risk, such as exposure to loud noise, smoking, and certain medical conditions.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Another common cause of acquired hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss. This occurs when the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged by exposure to loud noise. This type of hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the duration and intensity of the noise.
Statistics show that around 15% of adults aged 20 to 69 have noise-induced hearing loss, and the number increases to 30% for those aged 70 and over. Risk factors for noise-induced hearing loss include exposure to loud noise at work, leisure activities, and personal listening devices, such as headphones and earbuds.
To prevent noise-induced hearing loss, it is important to protect your ears from loud noise. This can be done by wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and by limiting the time you spend in loud environments. It is also important to take breaks from loud noise and to give your ears time to recover.
Certain medications can also cause acquired hearing loss. These medications are known as ototoxic medications, and they can damage the inner ear and cause hearing loss. Common examples of ototoxic medications include certain antibiotics, cancer drugs, and diuretics.
Risk factors for ototoxic hearing loss include taking high doses of the medication, taking the medication for a long period of time, and having other medical conditions that affect the ears. To prevent ototoxic hearing loss, it is important to talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of any medications you are taking.
Illness and Disease
Acquired hearing loss can also be caused by certain illnesses and diseases. These include conditions such as Meniere’s disease, autoimmune inner ear disease, and acoustic neuroma.
Risk factors for illness- and disease-related hearing loss include a family history of the condition, certain medical conditions, and exposure to certain viruses or toxins. To prevent illness- and disease-related hearing loss, it is important to take care of your overall health and to seek medical help if you have any symptoms of a condition that can affect the ears.
Trauma to the head and ears can also cause acquired hearing loss. This can include injuries from accidents, such as car accidents and falls, as well as injuries from explosions and gunfire. Trauma can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss, and it can affect one or both ears.
Common traumatic events that can cause hearing loss include falls, car accidents, and explosions. In addition, certain sports and activities, such as football and hunting, can also increase the risk of hearing loss due to trauma.
Risk factors for trauma-related hearing loss include exposure to loud noise, head injuries, and certain medical conditions. To prevent trauma-related hearing loss, it is important to take precautions to protect your head and ears, such as wearing helmets and earplugs in high-risk activities.
However you develop hearing loss, we’re here for you.
So it seems that acquired hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, ototoxic medications, illness and disease, and trauma. Understanding the causes of acquired hearing loss is important for preventing or slowing down the progression of the condition.
It’s essential to emphasize the importance of early detection and prevention of acquired hearing loss. If you are experiencing any symptoms of hearing loss, such as difficulty hearing, ringing in the ears, or dizziness, it is important to seek help. Early treatment can help slow down the progression of hearing loss and improve your overall quality of life.
If you are experiencing hearing loss and considering treatment, we encourage you to visit our hearing practice. Our team of experts will be able to diagnose the cause of your hearing loss and provide the appropriate treatment and support. Don’t let hearing loss call the shots in your life, schedule an appointment today and start your journey to better hearing.