According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 20 percent of Americans report some degree of hearing loss. That equals approximately 48 million people who have trouble hearing everyday conversations and noises. The cause of hearing loss vary, and their impact on your hearing is variable. Sometimes the cause of hearing loss is apparent, while other reasons may require a thorough examination to determine the cause. Here are the seven most common reasons why you might have a loss of hearing.
Repeated exposure to loud noises from machinery, a single shot from a shotgun at close range, and other causes of excessive noise can all permanently damage your hearing. Being exposed to excessive noise can destroy the delicate hair cells in your inner ear. The damage to the hair cells can result in permanent hearing loss or ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus.
When you have an inner ear infection, you can end up with inflammation of the middle ear, or otitis media. When otitis media happens over and over again, it can damage the eardrum, the bones of the ear, or the hearing nerve, resulting in permanent, sensorineural hearing loss, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Ear infections are the most common cause of hearing loss in children and can occasionally affect adults.
Aging, or presbycusis, is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs as we grow older. Approximately 30 to 35 percent of adults between 65 and 75 years old, have hearing loss and may require Miracle-Ear’s hearing aid solutions to continue to hear the world around them.
Injury to the Ear or Head
If you suffer from a blow to the head, the position of the three bones in your middle ear may change position. This can result in sound not being sent to your inner ear. An injury to the head can also cause the eardrum to rupture or damage the delicate nerves in the inner ear.
Birth Defects or Genetics
One of the most common congenital disabilities is hearing loss. When hearing loss is presented at birth, it is called congenital hearing loss; however, it can also develop later on during childhood and even into adulthood. Genetic factors are thought to cause approximately half of the cases of congenital hearing loss, and they’ve managed to identify about 25 genes that can play a role in hearing loss.
Reactions to Drugs
Certain medications can damage the ear and result in hearing loss, balance disorders, and tinnitus. The drugs are considered ototoxic, and there are about 200 known ototoxic drugs on the market. Often, the hearing and balance problems can be reversed when the drug therapy is discontinued.
Buildup of Earwax
When earwax builds up inside the ear, it can block the ear canal and prevent the conduction of sound waves. You can reverse this kind of hearing loss easily with the removal of the built-up earwax.
If you start to notice that you have trouble hearing you should consult with your doctor. They will be able to diagnose the issue and put you on a treatment plan to help restore your hearing.