According to the world health organization, over 460 million people suffer from hearing loss across the globe. With such a staggeringly high number of people being hearing impaired it is time that we understand the conditions that cause hearing loss.
That is why we have created this simple guide of the 5 most common conditions of hearing loss. Understanding the complexities of these conditions will help us learn ways to combat hearing loss in the future. Let’s get started!
Understanding Hearing Loss
Your ears consist of the outer, middle, and inner ear. Vibrations from sound waves pass through your outer ear while bones in your middle ear accentuate the vibrations as they travel to your inner ear. Nerve cells in your inner or Cochlea send electrical signals to your brain and your brain turns them into sound.
The following issues and conditions affect the way this process happens. Let’s take a look!
1. Ménière’s Disease
Ménière’s Disease affects the inner ear, and generally, it only affects one ear at a time. The disease can lead to dizziness or vertigo and can lead to hearing loss. Sometimes ear wax removal can bring relief from symptoms of the disease.
This disorder can occur at any age, however, it usually begins in young and middle-aged adults. While there are treatment options for Ménière’s Disease it is considered to be a chronic condition. Various symptoms could indicate the disease such as the following:
- Fullness in the ear
- Hearing loss
These symptoms may come and go over time. In some cases, the symptoms disappear entirely. The cause of the disease is currently unknown, however, the symptoms appear to have something to do with fluid build-up in the ear.
The fluid accumulation in the ear could be caused by a viral infection, genetic predisposition, or an autoimmune response. The disease is unpredictable and can cause stress and lifestyle changes in those who suffer from it.
2. Loud Noises
Any noises over 85 decibels are considered to be in the risk range, and while loud noises are not technically a condition, they are responsible for hearing loss in a large number of people.
Long term exposure to loud noises will lead undoubtedly to hearing loss. Occupational loud noises can cause irreparable damages which is why you should always wear protective earplugs.
Hearing loss from loud noises can be caused by damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, or NIHL, can be caused over time by listening to loud noises such as a concert, or it can happen abruptly such as when a gun fires.
There are some tactics to help you measure if noises are at an unsafe level such as:
- Paying attention to whether you have to raise your voice to speak
- Inability to hear someone who is 3 feet away from you
- Pain or ringing in your ears
Loud noises can cause other health disruptions besides hearing loss such as high blood pressure, stress, and trouble sleeping. Protecting your ears a key prevention tactic to prevent hearing loss.
3. Acoustic Neuroma
An Acoustic Neuroma can be challenging to diagnose because the signs and the symptoms appear gradually over time. This cause of hearing loss is a non-cancerous tumour also known as vestibular schwannoma. It develops in the inner ear on a nerve leading to the brain.
Symptoms for this cause of hearing loss are the following:
- Loss of balance
- Facial numbness
- Hearing loss
In some cases, if left untreated, this tumour can put pressure on the brainstem leading to further complications. The general treatment for the condition is radiation and monitoring and if necessary surgery will be performed to remove the tumour.
This type of hearing loss occurs after damage to the inner ear and often presents itself in older people. Issues with nerve pathways in your inner ear also could lead to Presbycusis which is a type of Sensorineural Hearing Loss or SNHL. This type of hearing loss makes even loud sounds difficult to hear.
The condition can be caused by things like illness, toxic drugs, ageing, head trauma, and more. The condition usually happens over time, however, if it is acute, medical attention is needed straight away. Presbycusis sufferers have a challenging time with high pitched tones as well as tinnitus.
5. Congenital Issues
Congenital hearing loss is due to complications during birth and/or pregnancy. Causes of loss of hearing at birth include, but are not limited to the following:
- Infections such as Rubella or Herpes
- Gestational Diabetes
- Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy
- Premature birth
Genetics plays a large roll in hearing loss. Sometimes it is present at birth and in other cases, it takes years to present itself. Hearing loss at birth can be a part of another condition at birth such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome.
There are options for treatment of these issues as the child ages such as a cochlear implant or hearing aid.
Managing the Conditions That Cause Hearing Loss
These are a few of the common conditions that cause hearing loss. These conditions are manageable with the right products and healthcare. At Sound Hearing, we strive to provide audiology services and hearing equipment to our customers in a simple and high-quality manner.
We want to connect further with you! If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or your loved ones manage their hearing impairment then visit our site today for more details.