Hearing Loss Causes & Prevention
There are many potential causes and risk factors for hearing loss that might apply to you. If you want to avoid hearing loss for as long as you can, or to limit the severity of your hearing loss, there are ways to prevent it. It’s all about focusing on maintaining and protecting your health and staying informed.
If you want to know how hearing loss happens, we have written a basic guide to the various causes of hearing loss below so you can be more informed.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Let’s look at the most common causes and how they work.
There are several different types of hearing loss that can affect a person. In fact, you may find that multiple causes contributed to your hearing loss, which can lead to much more severe hearing loss than normal.
Presbycusis or Age-Related Hearing Loss
Presbycusis, or aging, is the most common sensorineural hearing loss causes. It happens because of the natural aging of the auditory system, and can happen even if you protect and maintain your hearing health properly. It falls under the sensorineural type of hearing loss due to it being caused by the decay of your auditory nerves.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
The second most common cause for hearing loss is exposure to loud noises — either long-term exposure to damaging noise levels, or sudden exposure to extremely loud noises. It commonly happens in the workplace, such as factories, warehouses, and any other job where you are around loud equipment. It can also be caused by certain recreational activities such as musical performances, riding a motorcycle, recreational shooting, and so on.
You may find that the start of hearing loss from these situations can be repaired as long as you are proactive. Start wearing hearing protection or avoid the noises altogether so your ears can repair themselves. However, if you do not act right away you may find that the damage is permanent.
Exposure to loud noises in the workplace and recreational can lead to ear damage and can cause hearing loss overtime. If you are exposed to an extremely loud sound, like an explosion, it can cause immediate hearing loss.
Genetics & Hereditary Hearing Loss
Unfortunately, for some people there is a significant genetic risk factor to hearing loss. It can be something simple and direct, such as being more susceptible to age-related hearing loss at earlier ages. But it can also be hereditary conditions that affect your hearing, such as Otosclerosis, Usher’s syndrome, Pendred syndrome, and more.
Hereditary hearing loss can be present at birth or it may develop and progress throughout your life, especially if it is connected with a specific condition.
Infection & Illness
There are some illnesses and infections that can cause hearing loss. For example, suffering a high fever for a prolonged period can cause damage to your hearing. The most common illnesses or infectious diseases that can lead to hearing loss in this manner are measles, mumps, meningitis, chicken pox, shingles and the flu.
Why We're Different
Free Hearing Aid Trial
Studies have shown that people who have diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss compared to people who do not have that condition. This is likely based on the fact that high blood sugar levels can damage your blood vessels, including those in your ear that are necessary for the health of your hearing.
It is recommended by audiologists that people living with diabetes should get their hearing tested once a year to spot signs of hearing loss early. That way you can stay proactive about protecting and maintaining your hearing health.
There are many chronic diseases that are not directly related to the ear, but can cause hearing loss. These conditions include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders. If you want a more complete list of health conditions that can cause hearing loss, you can call us at any time for more information.
Injury & Trauma
It is possible to have hearing loss from a severe head injury or trauma from incidents such as a car accident, a blow to the head from contact sports. You can also suffer hearing trauma from sudden changes in pressure from flying or scuba diving. Depending on the nature of the trauma, there are a few ways that it can cause hearing loss:
- The impact dislocates the bones in the middle-ear causing permanent hearing loss.
- You suffer a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain’s ability to receive or process hearing information from your ears.
- You suffer physical damage to the biological components necessary for your ability to hear and process sound.
If you have suffered a serious injury, especially to your head, in your lifetime there is a chance that it is a cause of hearing loss.
Some medications may cause hearing loss as a side effect. This may be because they cause inflammation in your ears or sinuses, damage your blood vessels, or something else. Here is a list of common medications that can cause hearing loss:
- Aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as streptomycin, neomycin, or kanamycin
- Large amounts of aspirin
- Loop diuretics, like lasix or ethacrynic acid
- Some chemotherapy drugs
When you are prescribed these medications, your doctor may recommend having your hearing monitored to make sure you are not seriously affected by taking them. If it is caught early, your hearing loss should only be temporary, but if it is missed it is possible for the hearing loss to be permanent.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss
For many of the above causes, it is possible to take action to protect your hearing. At the very least, you may be able to delay hearing loss you experience or mitigate how severe the hearing loss becomes.
Here are some things you can do to help prevent hearing loss:
- Always wear hearing protection when you will be exposed to loud noise at work or in a recreational activity
- Keep the volume of your TV, music, radio, and other sound devices below 85 dB
- Come for a regular hearing test if you have any of the risk factors mentioned above (diabetes, chronic health concerns, medication, etc).
- Stay active and eat a healthy diet to maintain your overall health, as well as the health of your ears
If you think you have hearing loss, you can contact us at any time with questions or to book an appointment today. Our clinics in Victoria and Sidney are ready to help you get on the path to better hearing.