Hearing Loss: Common Causes & What Can Be Done

Serena Carsley-Mann

Mar 30 2023

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Despite the common belief that hearing loss only occurs later on in life, it can in fact happen at any age, and is a highly prevalent health issue.  It has the potential to completely change one’s life on every level, including emotionally, physically, and socially.   It can be caused by a wide variety of factors, sometimes due to aging as mentioned before, however there are many other reasons for hearing loss. This can include exposure to loud noises, genetics, injury and infection. Hearing loss can sometimes only be temporary, while in other cases, permanent damage is done and requires treatment.  This article delves into the most common causes of hearing loss, as well as what can be done to address the problem.  We’ll also talk about how our hearing aid comparison website can assist you in finding the right hearing aid for your needs. And while we do our best to provide you with the most detailed reviews on top hearing aids,  we’d like to just remind you that we’re not medical experts, and that an audiologist should always be consulted with.

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Hearing Loss: Common Causes  

Aging

Unfortunately, a decline in the ability to hear often comes with age. This is probably the most well-known cause of hearing loss, however most of us aren’t aware of what goes on exactly to cause the loss.  To quickly sum it up, the tiny hair cells in the inner ear become less sensitive as the years go by.  These hairs are what make sure that we convert sound waves into electrical signals that can be understood by the brain. So once they are less sensitive, it turns into hearing loss.  When hearing loss comes from aging, it’s known as presbycusis and tends to be felt in both ears. 

Loud Noise Exposure

A die-hard fan of loud music? You might want to take note of the fact that repeated exposure to loud noise can in fact cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, and is often irreversible damage too.   It depends on the type of exposure to loud noise, however even temporary hearing loss is certainly not something we want to bring upon ourselves or anyone.

 

Infections

We’d all have an ear infection at some point or another, but if not treated properly, ear infections can actually cause temporary hearing loss too.  The Eustachian tube gets blocked with an infection, and can interfere with sound transmission due to fluid buildup in the ear. In certain more severe cases, ear infections can also lead to permanent loss of hearing. 

Genetics

Certain genetic mutations can contribute to loss of hearing as well. One example is the GJB2 gene – those with mutations in this gene have a higher chance to face hearing loss at a young age. Sometimes, those with a genetic mutation can suffer from hearing loss upon birth. 

Injury 

Sometimes, certain traumas or head injuries can damage the auditory nerve or inner ear, which can lead to loss of hearing.  Similar to other causes of hearing loss, this can cause both temporary and permanent damage, depending on the severity. 

What Can Be Done?

If you think that you might be suffering from hearing loss, you’re probably right – however it’s important to meet with a professional, trained audiologist or at least a certified hearing professional.  Audiologists can perform a hearing test to see what type of hearing loss you may have, as well as to what extent the hearing loss is. With this information, they can then recommend the most appropriate treatment. 

Hearing Aids

The most common treatment for hearing loss is unsurprisingly hearing aids. Hearing aids work to amplify sounds, making it easier to hear them.  There are several different varieties on the market that you can learn more about on our comparison website, however the most common ones are behind-the-ear hearing aids, in-the-ear hearing aids, and in the canal models.   Certain hearing aid models can also be specially programmed to amplify specific frequencies.  It’s important to note that while hearing aids can assist with hearing loss, they are not a cure and may not bring your hearing back to completely normal. 

Cochlear Implants 

Cochlear implants offer those who suffer from severe hearing loss another option rather than hearing aids, as they are not suitable for everyone. They work in a different way, and bypass the damaged hair cells in the inner ear, and include an external device that captures sounds. They also include an internal device in order to stimulate the auditory nerve. 

Assistive Listening Devices 

Devices such as tele-coils or FM systems can be helpful in specific situations. For example, an FM system transmits sound directly to the wearer. 

Return Policies

It’s important to look at the return policies of a brand before purchasing a hearing aid from them, as it may not be the right fit for a variety of reasons. By taking the time to properly examine return policies, you can better make a more informed choice about which will be best for your needs. 

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In Summary 

Hearing loss can without a doubt have a huge impact on one’s quality of life and can be caused by a variety of factors.  Fortunately, there are many treatment options out there to help the suffering.  We strive to help those in need with the right hearing for their needs.

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