Hearing loss can develop in any person at any stage of their life. It not only impacts the overall quality of life but it also obstructs an individual’s way of being. The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. However, conductive hearing loss is also not very uncommon.
Here are some contributing factors that can lead to hearing loss.
Causes of Hearing Loss
Common causes of hearing loss are-
- Exposure to loud noises
- Trauma or blow to the head
- Viruses or disease
Factors that Can Cause Sensorineural Hearing Loss
- Prolonged exposure to loud noise
- Viral infections
- Medicines that can lead to ear poisoning
- High fever
- Meniere’s disease
- Tumors in the ear
Factors that can cause Conductive Hearing Loss
- Otitis media– Ear infections in the middle ear are called otitis media. They are quite common in kids between 6 months and 3 years of age. These are not serious and aren’t contagious at all but ear infections occur when a child has already had a cold for a couple of days.
- Fluid buildup- Fluid build-up is another cause of conductive hearing loss. This occurs when the ear is unable to drain fluid properly and there is an accumulation of fluid.
- Perforation of the eardrum- When ear infections or any blow to the ear is left untreated for long, it can lead to a hole or perforation of the eardrum.
- Excessive buildup of wax- Several people try to ‘clean’ the ear canal with cotton swabs without realizing that earwax is essential for ear functioning. Using cotton swabs can push the earwax further inside the ear canal, blocking sound waves entering the ear.
- Dislocation of middle ear bones
- Foreign object in the ear canal- Insects, bugs can get inside the ear and cause further problems. Children and toddlers can put small pieces of toys inside the ear accidentally while playing.
- Otosclerosis in which there is an abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear
- Cholesteatoma- Abnormal growths or tumors develop in the middle ear due to repeated chronic ear infections or problems in Eustachian tubes.
- Trauma to the ear- Due to accident or fluid buildup, the bones in the middle ear can be damaged.
- Malformation- If the outer or middle ear doesn’t form or grows properly, it can make sound transmission in the outer or middle ear difficult.
Degrees of Hearing Loss
- Mild- In this degree, one can hear speech sounds but have difficulty hearing soft sounds.
- Moderate- When someone is talking at a normal level, the affected person will not be able to hear anything.
- Severe- The person is able to hear only some loud sounds and unable to hear almost little-to-no speech.
- Profound- In this degree, one is able to hear only loud sounds.
Tips To Prevent Hearing Loss
Here are some preventive measures that can lower the risk of developing hearing loss in the future-
- Wear earplugs when visiting very loud places
- Try to follow the 60/60 rule if you are a music lover. According to this rule, you should not listen to music with headphones at not more than 60% of the volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
- When you go to a concert or a bar, step away from the speakers for five minutes so that the ears can rest.
- Don’t use cotton swabs regularly to clean the ears.
- Take doctor-prescribed medicines only.
- Make sure the ears are dry.
- Try cardio exercises like walking, running, or cycling to pump blood to all parts of the body, including the ears.
- Reduce the stress level.
- Build better strategies to communicate with your peers better.
- It is important that you visit an ENT doctor regularly for check-ups.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, the first step in restoring the hearing is a hearing evaluation. Schedule an appointment with the nearest ENT specialist.