There are many pleasures in life that will never be enjoyed if there is hearing loss. The pitter-patter of raindrops, the rustle of wind through the trees, or the voice of a grandchild reading for the first time. It has been estimated that approximately a third of seniors aged 65 to 74 will report some degree of hearing loss. This number is increased to a full 47% for adults over the age of 75.
If these statistics prove anything, it is especially widespread, and therefore there is also a considerable amount of information on this medical condition. Our article below will provide you with more information about hearing loss and how it can be prevented.
The good news is that hearing loss is not an inevitable fact for those getting older. Many preventable actions can be taken to maintain sharp hearing, and many treatments are available at your local hearing clinic to improve hearing.
Causes of Hearing Loss
The first thing to understand is that there are two different conditions when we refer to hearing loss these are a sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Sensorial hearing loss results from permanent damage being done to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. This often happens due to an injury but can also be caused by conditions such as osteosclerosis, which causes small growths to appear on bones that can affect the functions of the inner ear from working correctly. Then some hereditary conditions can cause poor hearing loss, many of which may be present from birth.
Then there is conductive hearing loss which means that sound waves do not reach the inner ear. This could be because sound waves are being hampered by an overload of earwax, a punctured eardrum, or other obstructions. Many of these can be solved quickly by a doctor. Even punctured eardrums can be properly mended through a surgical procedure.
Then there is a type of gradual hearing loss that affects people as they age, and this is called presbycusis, a condition that tends to strike people when they reach the age of 50 and often strikes those in the same family. This condition can make it difficult to hear people having a conversation and make loud noises, especially unbearable.
There is also a condition called otitis media that has also been known to result in hearing loss if allowed to continue untreated.
Certain medicines are “ototoxic” and can also be detrimental to your hearing. The consequence of taking any such medication could be partial or complete hearing loss or permanent or short-term. In addition, certain antibiotics can cause this problem, so be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor.
Finally, another common cause of hearing loss is exposure to, primarily, loud noise. This exposure can damage the structures of the inner ear and result in presbycusis. The best way to prevent presbycusis related to loud noises is to keep your ears protected with earplugs when hearing loud noises like music concerts, motorcycles, firecrackers, etc.
Preventing And Treating Hearing Loss
Since there are many varied causes of hearing loss, the plan to protect the hearing should be just as varied. The most simplistic techniques apply to everyone equally. For example, everyone should protect their hearing from loud noises. If you have a job in which you must operate or work in the vicinity of noisy machinery, you should use earplugs to minimize the damage to your hearing.
If you believe that earwax build-up could hamper your hearing, you may consider having your auditory canal examined by a medical professional. Also, avoid sticking cue tips and anything else into your ears, especially if you are afraid you may have a punctured eardrum.
Ear infections are most common in children, but adults should be equally aware of these conditions often caused by otitis media. One of the best ways to address the problem with ear infections is to keep your hands clean and keep up with your regular flu shots each season. In addition, if you are on medication and are concerned that it could affect your hearing, you should speak to your doctor about alternative treatments right away.
Solutions To Hearing Loss
Even though there are many ways to prevent hearing loss, it is still a condition that many people will experience in their lifetime to some degree. The good news is that there are ways to improve hearing. Hearing aids have come a long way and can provide solutions to those who have lost their hearing due to some condition or injury.
For other types of situations, a cochlear implant may be the best way to restore hearing. This interprets sounds as electrical signals and sends them to the brain. It doesn’t restore hearing but can allow some patients to live a better life.