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Causes, Symptoms And Treatment For Sudden Hearing Loss
Hearing loss refers to auditory impairment in either ear or just one. Hearing loss can be extreme or mild, diagnosed through several medical tests.
Several factors can cause hearing loss and also determine the intensity of impairment. However, hearing impairment due to ageing, also known as presbycusis, is the most common cause.
Statistics reveal that nearly 16% of adults ( I have deleted us as we should use indian statistics)suffer from hearing loss, making it twice as common as cancer or diabetes.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss:
Auditory impairment can be both gradual and sudden. Hearing loss symptoms include the following:
- Sounds and speech appear to be muffled.
- It is harder to understand speech particularly amid background noise.
- High pitch sounds are hard to understand.
- You frequently ask others to speak slower, louder, or clearer.
- You listen to the radio, music or TV at much higher volumes than before.
- You withdraw from conversations.
- You start avoiding social gatherings.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you experience any sudden hearing loss symptoms such as the ones mentioned above, you should get medical help immediately. If loss of hearing affects your everyday activities, mention it to your doctor. Age-related hearing impairment doesn’t happen at once, so if you have reached 55-60 years of age, please check the above symptoms to understand if you have any of them.
Also, get more insight about Hearing Loss – A Detailed Study of The Common Impairment
How Does Hearing Work?
The human ear is made up of three primary areas – the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. A sound wave generally passes through the outer ear and causes vibrations against the eardrum. Three small bones in the middle ear and the eardrum amplify this vibration as it travels to the inner ear. Here, the vibration passes through the fluid present in your ear in the cochlea, a snail-shaped structure within your inner ear.
The cochlea’s nerve cells are attached to thousands of microscopic hairs that translate these vibrations to electrical signals. These signals turn into sound when they reach your brain.
How Does Hearing Loss Occur?
There are several causes of hearing loss.
- Damage to the inner ear: Ageing and regular exposure to noises that are too loud can damage the hairs in the cochlea.
- Higher pitches become muffled: This means you find it harder to decipher words against too much background noise.
- Excess earwax build-up: Earwax that isn’t cleaned regularly can block ear canals and prevent sound waves from reaching the inner ear.
- Ruptured eardrum: Also called tympanic membrane perforation, this is caused by loud sound blasts, sudden pressure changes, damage caused by poking with any object, or infections. Any of these can damage your eardrum and impair your hearing.
Factors That Increase the Risk of Hearing Loss:
Several factors could damage the nerve cells and hairs within your inner ear. This includes:
- Ageing: The body and inner ear structure degenerate over time, causing hearing loss.
- Loud noises: Prolonged exposure to high-pitched or loud noises can cause hearing impairment. You could also suffer damage from short blasts of noise, like the sound of a gunshot at very close range.
- Heredity: Genetics play a key role in ascertaining your risk of hearing loss or ear damage.
- Occupational hazards: Certain jobs have loud noises as a regular feature of the work environment. This includes construction sites, factory work or farming, which could cause permanent hearing damage.
- Recreational sounds: Overexposure to explosive sounds, like jet engines or firearms, can result in immediate and long-term hearing impairment. Other similar dangerous activities with higher sound levels include motorcycling, snowmobiling, listening to loud music or carpentry.
- Certain medications: Several medicinal drugs and compounds can cause hearing impairment too. This includes gentamicin (antibiotic) and sildenafil (viagra), along with several chemotherapy drugs. All of this cause permanent inner ear damage. High doses of painkillers, aspirin, loop diuretics and antimalarial drugs can temporarily affect hearing, causing hearing loss or ringing.
- Certain diseases: Some illnesses that cause high fever as meningitis, could permanently damage a person’s cochlea.
4 Question That you should definitely Ask your Audiologist to know about the actual situation. Click on the link to know the 4 important questions.
Preventing Hearing Impairment:
Taking the following steps could mitigate damage to your ears and reduce or prevent hearing loss.
- Protect your ears: Limit the intensity and duration of exposure to loud noises. If you work in an environment with too many loud noises, use plastic earplugs, earmuffs with glycerin or any other method that ensures your ears are not directly exposed to loud sounds.
- Get your hearing tested: Taking a hearing loss test regularly can help you understand when you need to take extra precautions. If you discover you are in the initial stages of hearing loss, you can take extra care to ensure it doesn’t get worse.
- Avoid recreational risks: Certain activities like hunting, loud music over headphones, power tools, or biking can cause ear damage over time. Taking breaks from overexposure to loud noises or noisy environments can help keep hearing loss away.
Most hearing loss problems are irreversible. But with a regular hearing loss test routine and proper professional care, you can improve your hearing significantly.
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