understanding hearing loss
Hearing Loss Overview
Hearing loss occurs when one is unable to hear at levels of 25 dB or better in both ears. The degree of hearing loss can be mild, moderate, extreme, or profound. This can damage one or both ears, and often causes difficulty hearing conversational speech in noisy places.
Forty-eight million people in America suffer hearing loss, according to the Hearing Health Foundation. That's about 14 percent of our country's total population. With such a large community dealing with the condition, you would think that hearing loss is better understood. Sadly, it is not. Here's what you need to know about hearing loss.
Hearing loss types
Potential causes of hearing loss
While age is the most significant cause of hearing loss, excessive noise exposure is the number one cause of preventable hearing loss, with approximately 40 million adults suffering from the condition.
In the meantime, genetic causes, and health disorders such as cardiac disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other circulatory issues may cause hearing loss. There is also a risk from some medications, antibiotics, and chemotherapy — otherwise known as ototoxic medications.
Other causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
- Head trauma
- Virus or disease
- Autoimmune inner ear disease
- Inner ear malformation
- Meniere’s disease
Hearing loss signs
We recommend that you check your hearing if you notice any of the following:
- Other people seem to be mumbling.
- You continually asked others to repeat what they have just said
- You can't handle being in noisy areas or spaces.
- You watch TV at a louder volume television than others.
- You have more trouble understanding others when you can't see their faces.
- Your family has a history of hearing loss.
- You can hear a ringing in your ears.
Effects of hearing loss
Hearing is so important in helping us communicate with others. Even relatively mild hearing loss can seriously interfere with how we communicate with others. Without good listening, the implications for our social and mental well being — and, in some cases, physical health — can increase, and overall quality of life can plummet.
Healthy hearing involves the proper functioning of a variety of processes in the inner ear and brain to interpret the sounds you hear correctly. Inner-ear issues, or ear problems in general, may prevent vital bits of sound information from entering the mind, leading to confusion and a lack of understanding of what is being said.