Hearing loss can happen for a number of reasons. Some are simple and obvious. Others are a little trickier to pin down. But regardless of how you lost your hearing, getting tested to see how bad it really is can be an important step to make sure you get the treatment you need.
The easiest cause of hearing loss to pin point is age. Anybody who’s knees creak going up the stairs will tell you, “our bodies don’t always perform like they used to”. Age related hearing loss is the most common reason people come into our office. As we age our auditory nerves no longer receive sound and send a signal to our brain like they used to. Additional volume is needed to stimulate the nerves and send the message to our brain. But not all hearing loss is caused by “just getting older”.
Noise exposure is a leading cause of hearing loss as well. When you think of loud noise exposure leading to hearing loss you will often think of the farmer that works around loud machinery all day. Or the factory worker that has spent the last 40 years of their life surrounded by machine noise. But even everyday sounds can cause hearing loss. And while this hearing loss is more commonly caused by long lasting exposure, even exposure for a brief time can cause permanent hearing loss. The magic number when it comes to noise induced hearing loss is 85 decibels. Repeated exposure to sounds at 85 decibels or louder can cause hearing loss. Here are a few common sounds that exceed the threshold of 85 decibels.
And it doesn’t take long for these loud sounds to make a long-lasting impact. Exposure to a sound exceeding 115 decibels for only one minute can have a permanent effect on your hearing. This is why we strongly encourage ear protection for even the little things like mowing your lawn. Trust me. Investing $50 in a quality pair of earplugs could save you thousands later in life!
It might surprise you to find out that heart disease can have a direct correlation to hearing loss. Hearing loss is 54% more likely in people with heart disease than those without. This is because heart disease can lead to a lack of blood flow to your ears.
54% more likely to have hearing loss if you have heart disease
The ears are a highly vascular part of the body, so a lack of blood flow can have a serious long-term effect on your hearing. Heart attacks can also be a factor when it comes to hearing loss. Diabetics are also at a disadvantage when it comes to an increased risk of hearing loss. Studies have found that people with diabetes are twice as likely as non-diabetics to have hearing loss.
2X as likely to have hearing loss if you have diabetes
Ototoxic medications are another surprising cause of hearing loss. An ototoxic medication is a medication that has a toxic effect on the ear and the auditory nerves. What makes this cause of hearing loss so scary as that the hearing does not come back after you stop taking the medication. It is permeant hearing loss! Some ototoxic medications are unavoidable. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause hearing loss, but obviously they are better than the alternative. Consistent exposure to certain drugs can be ototoxic as well. Depending on the dosages, drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications and allergy medications can have an ototoxic effect.
Twenty percent of all hearing loss is “conductive” hearing loss. Put simply, the sound can’t get through the ear canal. This type of hearing loss can be cause by fluid in the ear, excess wax, infection, a fracture of the ossicles, or a tumor or foreign body in the ear canal. Getting your ears cleaned out on a regular basis by a professional is a great way to make sure that you hearing loss isn’t caused by having “junk in your ears”.
If you have dealt with any of the things mentioned above give our office a call to set up a free hearing exam. In a consultation with one of our hearing specialists, we can determine the cause of your hearing loss as well as the impact it is having on your life. Contact our office today and don’t put up with your hearing loss any longer!