According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. The cause of hearing loss varies, but there are many common reasons why it occurs. By exploring some of these reasons, doctors of audiology can determine what information and tools are needed to provide a better quality of life for those with hearing loss.
Hearing loss as a cause of age is a gradual loss. There is no known single cause of age-related hearing loss, but it is caused by changes in the inner ear that occur as you grow older.
Any time the head or ears are hit, there is a chance of hearing loss due to the potential movement of the bones in the middle ear or damage to the inner ear. Ear specialists are sometimes able to repair this hearing loss with surgeries. Other times, the hearing loss may be permanent with no surgical treatment.
Repetitive exposure to loud noises from music, power tools, farm equipment, and more can also cause hearing loss. Sometimes the hearing loss is gradual and other times it can be sudden. This hearing loss is most commonly due to the loud sound causing damage to the inner ear structures, but in severe cases of exposure, an extremely loud sound (i.e. an explosion or gunshot close to the ear) can rupture an eardrum or break the small bones in the middle ear.
Conditions such as otosclerosis, Ménière’s disease, meningitis, Otitis Media (ear infections) and more can cause hearing impairment. Diseases affect ears in multiple different ways, so the effect a disease has on hearing varies.
Medicines that damage the ear and cause hearing loss are known as ototoxic medicines. Certain types can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.
The common denominator in all causes of hearing loss is damaged parts of the ear. Due to the complexity of the ear, there are a variety of causes, and it is best to speak to a doctor of audiology about hearing impairments that are occurring.
If you or someone you love is experiencing hearing loss, we recommend scheduling a hearing screening to identify what options are available. At The Hearing Place, we offer full-service hearing evaluations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!