Common Causes of Hearing Loss
- Accumulation of wax in the ear
- Malformation of the outer, middle, or inner ear
- Fluid in the ear
- Perforation of the eardrum
- Ear infection
- Eustachian tube dysfunction
- Aging (presbycusis)
- Exposure to loud noise
- Ototoxic substances
- Health conditions such as, diabetes and heart disease
- Genetic disposition
The 3 Different Types of Hearing Loss
SHL is typically the result of damage to the delicate hair cells of the cochlea, a fluid-filled organ in the inner ear that transmits sound information to the brain. When these hair cells, or the nerves they connect to, are damaged by exposure to loud noise, hearing is affected. The highest frequencies are the first to go, so dangerous noise exposure often results in permanent high-frequency hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss, or conductive hearing impairment, usually results from an infection or blockage in the outer or middle ear. Fluid buildup caused by Inflammation of the middle ear (known as otitis media) is a common occurrence, along with swimmer’s ear and earwax blockages near the eardrum.
Mixed hearing loss, or mixed hearing impairment, refers to a combination of SHL and CHL such as malfunctioning ossicles (tiny bones that conduct sound) or other physical abnormalities in the middle ear. Hearing may improve after the conductive portion of the hearing loss is resolved, but SHL is usually permanent.
Hearing Loss Signs
- Needing people to repeat what they’ve said
- Difficulty following complex conversations
- Thinking that others are mumbling or speaking quietly
- Struggling to differentiate speech from background noise
- Watching TV or listening to the radio at high volumes
- Inappropriate responses during conversation
- Straining to hear what others are saying
- Withdrawal from hobbies or socializing
- Family history of hearing loss
- Taking medications that may harm hearing
- History of exposure to loud sounds
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid or circulation problems
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