Hearing Loss Causes and Prevention
The biggest cause of hearing loss is damage to the inner ear. This occurs due to the normal aging process as well as years and years of exposure to, mainly prolonged, loud noise. This is so because this exposure can damage the hair/nerve cells, which account for sending the signals to the brain. However, they are not replaceable once damaged, which is why it is important to take precaution from an early age. Other causes include an accumulation of earwax, though that can be fixed by earwax removal. Ear infections and abnormal bone growths or tumors can also lead to hearing loss, as well as fluid buildup. A ruptured eardrum, which can occur via a sudden loud burst of noise, changes in pressure, or poking your eardrum by accident, can alter your hearing in a negative way.
There are a few risk factors that account for most of someone’s hearing loss. Aging is one of the biggest, as exposure to noise throughout the year builds up damage inside the ear. Your genes also dictate your predisposure for nerve degeneration and other factors that would impact your hearing. Frequent exposure to loud noise on a daily basis, such as for a job, can accumulate a lot of damage in your ear. Other high noise levels, such as from listening to a music player with the volume too high, or even constant loud noises from the lawnmower or vacuum or watching fireworks, for example, can lead to damage. Finally, certain medications and illnesses can also promote damage.
Working on prevention and healthy hearing techniques as soon as possible are the best ways to make sure you are at a lower risk for developing hearing loss. Avoid situations where you will be exposed to loud noise for long periods of time. If you know you will be in this type of situation, such as a club, bar, concert, firework show etc. consider investing in an earplug which lowers the volume of noise without affecting the sound quality. Plan on only staying for a short while, or taking frequent breaks from the loud noise. Avoid listening to music players with the volume too high - If someone next to you can hear the music from your headphones, the sound is too loud. If you are around loud noises frequently, you might want to look into getting your hearing tested so see if a lot of damage has already been done and if you need to be more careful going forward. Don’t take your hearing for granted and you will be thankful in the future! (Hearing loss: Prevention - MayoClinic.com. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 10, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hearing-loss/DS00172/DSECTION=prevention)