Here are the various ways in which hearing loss occurs.
It is among the number one causes of hearing loss. Luckily, it can be easily treated. Also referred to as Otitis Media, ear infections cause inflammations in the middle ear. In extreme cases, mucus gathers and blocks the Eustachian tube as a result of allergies or cold. When this happens, the drainage and pressure maintenance within the ear fails. Fluid build-up attracts bacteria which multiplies and continue their cycle until hearing starts to diminish. The thickness of the build-up fluid influences how much you can hear. The lowest will be 24 decibels with the highest being 42. However, this condition can be treated within the first ten days with antibiotics until it clears. Failure to treat ear infections lead to lots of problems in the long run.
Loud noises, believe it or not, can cause permanent loss of hearing. This especially happens when one is exposed to loud noises for a long time. About 70%, said a 2011-2012 survey by National Health and Nutrition Examination, of people exposed to loud noise never or hardly wear hearing protection. What this means is that many of those exposed to loud noises are susceptible to hearing loss. How does this happen? The hair cells get damaged, and without them, we will hear nothing. Some of the loud noises that can cause deafness include loud music, especially on headphones or earphones, plane take-offs, traffic noise, sporting events, rock concerts, sirens and surprisingly, washing machines!
Unfortunately, this is a cause which is inevitable and is bound to occur as you tend to grow older. It is the biggest cause of hearing loss and is commonly referred to as age-related hearing loss. In the medicine world, it is known as presbycusis.
At the age of 40, most people start experiencing hearing loss. By 80, they will have deteriorated to the point that they cannot hear voices of high frequency like children’s or women’s. Hearing some consonants also become increasingly harder. Why does this happen? The elasticity of some parts in the ear occurs, and hair cells damage slowly leading to less sound wave transmission to the brain. A hearing aid can be used in this case.
Yes, it is another necessary evil we have to deal with. In as much as they protect the ear from the entry of foreign particles like dust and micro-organisms, they can cause blockage in the ear. The earwax (cerumen) produced by the ear is regularly flushed out. However, other times overproduction of cerumen occurs. When this happens, the earwax begins to slowly harden and blocks sound from traveling through the canal. This calls for the removal of the wax.
Some methods of earwax removal are risky and can lead to further worsening of the condition. Using ear buds or cotton swabs is an effective way for some but what they do not know is that over time, it causes ear compaction that will call for a need to visit the doctor. The ideal way to remove earwax is by using hydrogen peroxide or mineral oils. For extreme cases, medical attention would be appropriate.
Eardrums can either get raptured or damaged causing partial or permanent loss of hearing. Complacency in attending to or seeking medical assistance in case of an ear infection have long term problems. Untreated, it causes pressure imbalance which eventually bursts the eardrum. The pressure may result in a tear in the various layers of the eardrum; the thin membrane, the firm middle layer or the outer skin layer, which plays the role of a barrier between the inner and outer ear. Loud noises, nonetheless, can also cause an eardrum perforation which in turn refuses to let the sound go through in the ear. Some perforations caused this way sometimes close automatically after a while, however, in some cases, surgery becomes a necessity.
The eardrum can also get damaged in some ways. A good example is by trying to remove earwax using sharp objects or using other crude methods to remove them. This leads to gradual hearing loss. Hair cells that distinguish soft from loud noise in the eardrum, similarly, can be interfered with or damaged. This makes them to either get a little stimulated or fail completely to pick sound. Since there is no solution for the broken-down hair, hearing aids become the next best cure for this cause.
Probably, you’ve never heard of this condition but is one other thing to worry about when it comes to hearing problems. It is an unusual and out of the norm condition that leads to the formation of skin cells inside the ear. It results from a malfunction of the eustachian tube or a collapsed eardrum due to damage which provides a receptacle for dead skin cells produced by the ear to collect. It is also a hereditary condition. Untreated, it becomes lethal as it gradually grows to a point where the tiny bones in the inner ear and the organs for hearing become damaged. It also causes infections that produce a discharge in the ear, vertigo and tinnitus which are all detrimental to one’s hearing.
Otosclerosis is a common cause of mild to severe hearing loss in young adults. It refers to a condition in which a bone growth develops abnormally in the ear. When sound waves hit the three small bones in the ear, they transmit sound to the cochlea which converts and sends them to the brain. In the case of otosclerosis, the bones fuse together and remain fixed and unable to vibrate. What this means is that no sound will be transmitted to the cochlea and nothing to the brain. It affects one or both ears and is characterized by quiet speeches, difficulty in hearing low or deep sounds which includes whispers and funny enough, the ability to hear when there is noise in the background. When it spreads to the inner ear, a lot of damage can occur. It can be corrected through hearing aids or surgery.
Physical injury to the head can cause a myriad of medical related problems and hearing loss is one of them. A skull fracture, for instance, can puncture a hole in the eardrum and damage the structures that enable for sound wave vibrations. This results in hearing loss.
Tumors are benign or cancerous growths that cause severe health problems. It apparently causes hearing loss as well. Examples include meningioma, acoustic neuroma, and paraganglioma. It causes ringing in the ears, and over time, the inner ear gets affected leading to complete hearing loss.
Not limited to the above causes and how they lead to the occurrence of hearing loss, other factors or diseases like measles, mumps, syphilis, and meningitis. Meniere’s disease, poor ear formation, medications like antibiotics, excessive amounts of aspirin, radiotherapy for certain types of cancer, chemotherapy drugs, hereditary factors, brain inflammations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions to say the least also contribute to the condition.
All these conditions and diseases cause either partial or complete loss of hearing in one way or another. Consequently, they all have different ways of treating or curing them. The most common way and solution for partial hearing are through hearing aids. Nonetheless, what you ought to know is that the cost accompanied with the treatment of hearing loss, depending on the cause and mode of cure is costly enough if not treated at early stages.