Causes Of Hearing Loss And Symptoms

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There are many causes of Hearing Loss. Hearing loss due to old age or deafness due to old age is the most common cause of Hearing Loss. Age related Hearing Loss is unavoidable, the elders mostly suffer from Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Age related Hearing loss is also known as Presbycusis. Unless the Hearing loss is sudden it is very hard to realise. Awareness of the symptoms and causes of Hearing Loss will help us to identify early and seek timely medical help.

Hearing Loss Causes and Symptoms blog feature image

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Hearing Loss?

As per the statistics available, 33% of the people above the age of 60 have some level of Hearing loss. The chances increase to 50% above the age of 74 years.

Let us get familiar with the causes of hearing impairment.

Hearing Loss From Loud Noise Or Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Honking increases Noise pollution causing Hearing loss
Honking increases Noise pollution causing Hearing loss

Hearing loss from loud noise is the second largest cause after old age. The ever increasing traffic noise is a major cause of hearing loss. It’s a matter of great concern that 20% of the people between the age group of 20 to 44 years have developed a Hearing loss. Listening to loud music through earphones is very common among the youth, they should realise that loud music affects hearing

People working in factories without using proper Ear protection Devices also develop Hearing Loss. Ear pain after loud noise exposure is one of the common noise induced hearing loss symptoms.

  • Can Medicines Cause Hearing Loss?

Some medicines damage the delicate hair cells in the Cochlea. The cochlea is a delicate part in the inner Ear, it converts sound signals into electrical signals. The Auditory nerves carry the electrical signals to the brain. Some medicines are very strong and affect the delicate organs of our body, these medicines are called Ototoxic drugs. Avoid Self-medication; always take medication as per your Doctor’s prescription.

  • Can An Injury To The Head Cause Hearing Loss?

It is unfortunate if one meets with an accident. If the physical hit or the blow is close to a specific part of the ear or the damage is to the nerve responsible for hearing. The hit can cause Hearing Loss.

  • Can Illness Cause Hearing Loss?

Hearing Loss due to illness is common among new-born children. High fever due to meningitis or mumps can damage the delicate hair cell of the Cochlea. Some lifestyle diseases are also known to cause hearing loss. Read our blog on 7 Diseases that Cause Hearing Loss.

  • Can We Get Hearing Loss From Ear Infection?

In the case of ear infection, there is a swelling in the ear canal. The swelling closes the ear canal and reduces the sound waves reaching the eardrum. Infection also causes a collection of fluid in the ear causing hearing loss.

Hearing Loss from infection is mostly temporary; this type of loss is known as a Conductive Hearing Loss. In the majority of the cases, conductive hearing loss can be treated if attended to in time.

Can Earwax Cause Hearing Loss?

Conductive Hearing loss due to earwax accumulation
Hearing loss due to earwax accumulation

Earwax is also a very common cause of Hearing Loss. Normally this type of hearing loss is known as temporary hearing loss, earwax causes muffled hearing due to the obstruction in the ear. Visit your ENT doctor or an Audiologist. A proper check through the Otoscope will confirm if the Hearing loss is due to earwax. Follow these simple home tips to keep your ears clean.

There are other medical causes of Hearing loss.

  • Tumours
  • Genetic or hereditary traits.
  • Malformation of the ear canal or inner ear.

Common Hearing Loss  Symptoms

Hearing Loss means reduced ability to hear. Hearing loss starts slowly and keeps increasing gradually. As the increase is gradual, it is difficult for the affected person to self-diagnose as the symptoms of deafness are not very obvious in the early stages

People who suspect they have a hearing loss can answer this simple questionnaire, this questionnaire will help detect early signs of hearing loss but the final confirmation should be after undergoing an Audiometry test. Some symptoms and signs of hearing loss are visible to others but not to the affected person. Given below are some common Hearing Loss symptoms.

Difficulty In Following Conversations

Difficulty in Hearing due to Hearing loss
Difficulty in Hearing

The first signs and symptoms of Hearing Loss are when one starts missing out on a few words in a conversation. The Hearing loss is not very obvious if the conversation is between two people facing each other. The other symptoms are:

  • Difficulty in following the conversation if the person is talking from behind or some distance away.
  • Unable to listen while in a group discussion, like an office meeting or a family get-together.
  • Inability in following the conversation if the conversation is in a noisy area, like a restaurant or while travelling in a bus.
  • At times the affected person can hear but the words are not clear.
  • Unable to locate the source of sound if someone calls out.
  • Missing out on everyday sounds.

The person with Hearing loss tends to miss out on normal sounds.

  • Unable to hear the doorbell or the ring of the telephone.
  • Missing out on words in a telephone conversation.
  • Having difficulty in following conversation with children and ladies as compared to males. (High Frequency Hearing Loss)

Common Signs of Hearing Loss

Watching TV at a high volume indicates Hearing Loss
Watching TV at a high volume

The family of the affected person should also be aware of the symptoms of deafness. Some of the signs which are visible to others are:

  • The affected person increases the volume of the television or the radio. The loud volume may be unbearable to the other family members.
  • A person in the initial stages of deafness will complain about others not speaking loud enough or clearly.
  • The affected person will miss out on some words during a conversation.
  • The person with hearing loss will request others to repeat themselves.
  • They tend to gradually withdraw from family discussions and social events.
  • The affected person will show signs of tiredness as they have to strain themselves to hear, this causes stress.

The hearing loss symptoms mentioned above are most relevant to people suffering from age related Hearing loss or presbycusis. The disturbing fact is that Hearing loss is not limited to the elderly. 20% of the young population over 20 years show signs of ear damage from loud music. The youth can listen to music and yet take care of their hearing if they follow some simple ear Health tips.

The ageing population over 60 are sensitive and need proper counselling. They are reluctant to accept the fact and are not keen to consult a hearing professional. It is often challenging to make them use Hearing aids. Hearing aids are a solution for age related hearing loss or Sensorineural Hearing loss. Follow the simple tips to convince your parents to use Hearing aids.

As per the latest scientific studies, the Hearing impaired elders withdraw from active interaction and social life. This withdrawal causes depression and also leads to Alzheimer’s disease. We should not take the Hearing loss lightly and seek immediate medical help.

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