Hearing loss is very common in adults. About 15% of Americans over age 18 have a problem hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Hearing loss worsens with age, affecting nearly half of those over age 75.
Although hearing loss is a common problem, it can have different causes. Understanding these causes may help you protect your hearing.
At Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Kevin Sharim and his team of audiologists and hearing aid specialists are dedicated to helping you protect and optimize your hearing. And if you’re having trouble hearing, we can diagnose and treat you.
Dr. Sharim would like to tell you about four common causes of hearing loss.
Cause #1: Loud noise
Loud noise is one of the most frequent causes of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), according to the National Institute on Aging. Sources of hearing-damaging noise include loud music, gunshots, explosives, fireworks, loud traffic, lawnmowers, snowblowers, noisy engines, and other machines. Your hearing may even be harmed by having the television or computer turned up too high.
Loud sounds can affect your hearing by damaging the very small nerve cells that line the inside of your inner ear. These cells transmit sound signals from your environment to your brain.
The longer or more often you are exposed to loud noises, the greater your risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Wearing earplugs or other types of ear protection can help save your hearing.
Cause #2: Health conditions
Various types of health conditions can have an impact on your hearing. They include:
- Brain or head injuries
- Certain infections
- High blood pressure
Getting prompt medical care when you are sick or injured and managing chronic health problems to the best of your ability is beneficial for your overall health and your hearing.
Cause #3: Some kinds of medications
Certain types of drugs are “ototoxic,” meaning they can harm your hearing. These include some drugs used to treat heart disease, cancer, and infections. Taking large doses of aspirin could also put your hearing in jeopardy.
When your health care provider prescribes a new medication, ask if it will have an impact on your hearing. If it does, your provider may be able to substitute a more hearing-safe drug.
Cause #4: Diseases and conditions that affect your ears
Otosclerosis and Ménière's disease, which affect the middle ear, and certain types of autoimmune diseases may harm your hearing. In addition, infection or injuries that lead to a ruptured eardrum can interfere with hearing.
Get help for your hearing loss
No matter what has caused your hearing loss, we are here to help. Our hearing professionals offer a full range of diagnostic services, including hearing evaluations, hearing tests, and audiology consultations. We also offer treatment options to help improve or protect your hearing, including hearing aids and earmolds.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharim and our team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, contact one of our offices, which are conveniently located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California.