Hearing loss occurs when our ability to understand the sounds around us is lost. There are many causes of hearing loss, and here we take a look at a few of the most common. Read on to find out more.
How we hear
We need to understand how we hear in the first place in order to fully understand how we lose our hearing.
Hearing loss can be divided into three main types:
Sensorineural hearing loss (which affects 90% of people with hearing loss) occurs when the cochlea or the auditory nerve pathways are malfunctioning. This type most commonly occurs when the hair cells in the cochlea are damaged and unable to pick up sound to be sent to the brain.
Something stops sound from properly transferring to your inner ear when you have Conductive hearing loss. Instead of a slow decline in your hearing capacity, conductive hearing loss is characterized by muffled sound. Some people have a feeling of full ears, similar to the experience of an earwax buildup. In the worst-case scenario, there could be discomfort, dizziness, or other symptoms.
Experiencing both conductive and sensorineural forms of hearing loss is known as a mixed hearing loss.
The most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss is age-related hearing loss. This type of hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is caused by a lifetime of wear on the hair cells in our cochlea. It affects both ears and becomes more common as you get older. As we grow older, the majority of us will likely develop some level of presbycusis.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the second most common cause (and most common preventable) of sensorineural hearing loss. It develops from a prolonged exposure to loud noise at work or play. Short bursts of loud sound, such as those generated by weapons and explosions, can also cause immediate damage to the hair cells.
Causes of conductive hearing loss
Unlike sensorineural hearing loss which is caused by damage to the inner ear's tiny hair-like cilia (the scientific name for those hair cells that pick up sound), conductive hearing loss is caused by a number of factors.
The following factors can also cause hearing loss:
How can hearing loss be treated?
For conductive hearing loss, surgery or medication can sometimes alleviate the symptoms and restore hearing. There is no such luck with sensorineural hearing loss - it is often incurable. Although there is no cure for this form of hearing loss, many people find that hearing aids work to alleviate hearing loss symptoms.
Hearing aids can be used to:
Contact us right away if you believe you have a hearing loss. We will run the necessary tests to assess your hearing abilities and provide individualized treatment to help you get back to living your life.