Hearing loss occurs when one or both ears are unable to hear sound entirely or partially. Hearing loss usually develops slowly over time. The outer ear, middle ear and inner ear are the three main sections of the ear. Sound waves travel from the outer ear to the eardrum, which is a tiny piece of skin that connects the outer and middle ear. The eardrum vibrates when sound waves pass through it. Hearing loss is classified into three categories:
Hearing loss is caused by both aging and long-term exposure to loud noises. Excessive earwax can temporarily impair how well your ears conduct sounds. Most types of hearing loss are irreversible. You can, however, work with your doctor or a hearing specialist such as a hearing health professional to improve your hearing.
Now we know what kind of hearing loss occurs, let’s look at the three most common causes of hearing loss.
When you think of hearing loss, it’s very likely that your mind diverts to someone you know that’s got it. Usually, they will be considerably older, and it’s perhaps one of the most common forms of hearing loss. As we age, the structure of our inner ear degenerates meaning hearing becomes harder. When hearing loss is caused by aging, hearing health professionals usually recommend a treatment using hearing aids and other tools such as induction loops to help the patient hear clearly.
Too Much Exposure To Loud Noises
There’s a reason why most technology warns us about listening to loud music for long periods of time. People who are exposed to loud noises constantly often find they have hearing loss at some point in their lives. This is because the loud sound waves damage the inner ear structure, causing irreversible damage to the ear and leaving the person with hearing loss. Like those with hearing loss due to aging, this can often be treated with hearing aids, but your hearing health professional may check for other issues with your ear such as ear infections, impacted earwax or even check the medication you take to determine the actual source of your hearing loss.
Hereditary Finally, if none of the above apply to you, you may be wondering why you’ve got hearing loss, and it could be down to your genes. Genes provide the instructions that tell people’s bodies’ cells how to grow and function. Gene instructions, for example, determine the color of a person’s eyes. Hearing is influenced by several genes. A gene does not always form in the way it should. This is referred to as a mutation. Some mutations are passed down across families, whereas others are not. Hearing loss is referred to as familial when it affects multiple members of a family. That is, it is a hereditary tendency. If someone in your family – even if they’re a distant blood relative – has hearing loss, then it might be worth checking in with your hearing health professional for some tests.