Hearing loss can be a frustrating, life-changing experience (especially if your hobbies or profession are hyper-dependent on your hearing abilities). Understanding how to prevent hearing damage, what constitutes hearing damage, and other important information surrounding hearing damage is crucial. This information is not nearly as common as many people assume it to be, so educating yourself is one of the most responsible, proactive things you can do to protect your hearing health. With the right knowledge under your belt, you’ll know exactly what to do if you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss:
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is defined as the loss of hearing in either or both of your ears. These effects can range wildly but can be mild, or severe enough to prevent you from hearing out of one or both of your ears. Hearing loss can happen to anyone, although it’s most common in those that are older than sixty.
Currently, it’s estimated that around 16% of adults in the United States experience hearing loss. Those with certain diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, experience hearing loss at even higher rates. Additionally, men are more likely (1 in 5 men) to experience hearing loss than women are (1 in 8 women).
Although these stats can be bothersome, treating hearing loss and preventing hearing loss are much easier than you might think. With the right help, you’ll know just how to keep your ears healthy and safe for as long as humanly possible. In the unfortunate situation where you find your hearing damaged due to circumstances completely out of your control, seeking legal help for the restitution you deserve is highly recommended.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three primary types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, and sensorineural hearing loss. Understanding the differences between these three types of hearing loss is key to preparing yourself to deal with, and prevent, hearing loss in your own life.
Firstly, conductive hearing loss is caused by mechanical problems in the outer or middle ear and even deals with obstructions within the ear canal. Earwax and other blockage are often the culprits of conductive hearing loss. Many types of conductive hearing loss can be medically treated and lessened, although some cases can be permanent. Catching the signs of conductive hearing loss early is crucial in protecting yourself.
Secondly, sensorineural hearing loss, which is the most common type of hearing loss, is caused by different damaging conditions surrounding the auditory nerves in your inner ear. Unlike conductive hearing loss, this type of hearing loss is almost always permanent. The damage will affect your ability to interpret loudness, pitch, sound meanings, and more (so avoiding it is of utmost importance).
Lastly, mixed hearing loss is when a person experiences aspects of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. The treatments for this type of hearing loss are more complex but fall into the territory of both previous hearing loss types.
Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Once again, catching signs of hearing loss early is crucial in treating your hearing loss effectively. Understanding some of the common symptoms and causes of hearing loss will help you out.
Firstly, let’s look at some of the top symptoms of hearing loss. Difficulty understanding everyday conversations in the same capacity as you used to, listening exhaustion, needing to turn up entertainment more than previously, asking others to repeat themselves frequently, tinnitus and more can be major signs. If you experience any of these regularly or to a bothersome extent, seek out medical attention.
Secondly, it’s important to consider the common causes of hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss is most common (and is most likely to affect those over sixty years old). Heart disease and diabetes are also incredibly common causes. However, exposure to excessive noise (whether during work or your personal life) is another major cause of hearing loss. Finally, those with a family history of hearing loss are much more likely to experience hearing loss in their lifetimes as well.
Testing and Treatments for Hearing Loss
Seeking out medical attention regularly (at least once every few years) to check on your hearing health is critical in discovering hearing loss before it gets out of control (and as you age, this process becomes that much more important). There are many different types of tests you may be exposed to by medical professionals to determine the type, and extent, of any hearing loss you might have.
Thankfully, the technology for treating hearing loss is advancing quickly. Hearing aids are more widely available and effective than ever, and many treatments for non-permanent damage are quick and easy to perform. By simply keeping vigilant and taking care of your ears, you’ll avoid needing to undergo any hearing loss treatments anytime soon.