In the United States, roughly 15% of adults aged 18+ report some difficulty hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Hearing loss is the third most chronic physical condition in the United States, making it more prevalent than cancer or diabetes.
There are a number of different causes of hearing loss. We’re taking a closer look at the most common causes of hearing loss.
Most Common Causes of Hearing Loss
Many people believe that hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process. While age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is a common cause of hearing loss, it is not the only cause. The most common causes of hearing loss include:
- Aging: Hearing loss that is the result of the aging process is known as presbycusis. The delicate structures of our inner ear can become damaged or degenerate over time. As a result, aging is a common cause of hearing loss.
- Noise: Noise is one huge factor that can cause hearing loss. If you work in a noisy environment i.e a factory with machinery or an open plan office space, your employer should provide appropriate equipment and provisions to reduce the risk of noise induced hearing loss.
- Heredity: Over 35% of age-related hearing impairments can be attributed to genetic hearing loss. Your genetic makeup could be a potential cause of hearing loss.
- Occupational noises: Exposure to loud noise on the job can result in noise induced hearing loss. You may unknowingly be exposed to loud noises in the workplace. Common workplaces that can be dangerously loud include: farming, construction, factories, the military, and more. Protecting your ears in a dangerously loud environment can help protect your hearing.
- Recreational noises: Part of the growing noise-induced hearing loss segment of the population are people who are exposed to loud noise recreationally. This can also result in noise induced hearing loss. Sporting events, music concerts or even hunting can put your hearing at risk.
- Certain medications: Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause hearing loss. Known as Ototoxic Medication, it’s important to track any changes to your hearing if you are taking medication.
- Some illnesses: Certain illnesses or diseases that can cause high fever can, in some instances, damage the cochlea and cause hearing loss. These can include: meningitis, mumps, or measles. New studies in the UK have shown some links between Covid-19 and hearing loss.
- Blockages: A blockage in your ear can result in conductive hearing loss. A blockage could be something like a buildup of earwax, or an object in your ear. In some cases, it could be bone growth or a tumor. Hearing loss caused by a blockage is generally temporary. Speak to your hearing healthcare professional to discuss your options.
- Damage or trauma to the head: Some types of hearing loss are caused by getting hit in the head or the ear directly. Depending on the damage, the hearing loss can be permanent.
If you suspect that your hearing may have changed, don’t delay seeking treatment. Book a consultation with the hearing healthcare specialists at HearingLife (formerly Family Audiology) today. You can also call 607-323-4061 and discuss your concerns with one of our experienced hearing care professionals.