There are many causes of hearing loss, and the effects on a person’s hearing may vary widely. Some causes are clear, while others are discovered through technology and a thorough examination. No matter the cause, it’s important to seek treatment for any loss. The most common causes are listed below.
A single loud noise at close range can permanently damage a person’s hearing in seconds. Prolonged exposure to loud noises may damage hearing over a long time. Exposure to excessive noise damages the cells of the inner ear, and it can occur at work, from firearms usage, due concert and nightclub attendance, motorcycles, boating, racing, and many more causes. If a person must raise his or her voice to be heard at arm’s length, the level of noise could cause hearing damage.
Middle ear infections, otherwise known as otitis media, are the most common cause of loss in children and adults. These infections cause severe earaches and substantial hearing losses, and immediate medical attention is the best course of action, as the damage can lead to permanent hearing losses.
When a person loses their hearing due to age, presbycusis is said to occur. About 35% of adults 65-75 have some degree of presbycusis, and the loss is most significant for high-pitched sounds.
Ear or Head Injury
A sharp blow to the head may change the placement of bones in the middle ear, resulting in the loss of hearing. Head injuries may lead to eardrum ruptures or damage to the nerves of the inner ear, both of which can damage a person’s hearing.
Genetics or Birth Defects
Among birth defects, hearing losses are some of the most common. When it’s present at birth, it’s known as a congenital loss, but it can also develop later in life. Certain illnesses, such as gestational rubella, are thought to play a role, and premature babies are also at risk.
All of the above factors can make a person lose their hearing, and not all are treatable. However, when losses are observed, the patient should seek medical evaluation and treatment as soon as possible.