One of the reasons that hearing loss effects so many people is because it can be caused by a wide variety of things. The main causes of hearing loss include:
- Exposure to loud noise: Exposure to industrial equipment, concerts, hunting or gun noise and sporting events can all cause long term damage.
- Family history of hearing loss: Genetics can often be an indicator if you will be affected by hearing loss at some point in your life.
- Infection or disease: Certain medical conditions can cause short term or long term hearing loss. Treatment from medical conditions, such as chemo, also can have effects on your hearing.
- Aging: Father Time eventually catches up with all of us and sometimes we need assistive devices to stay at our best as we age.
- Anatomic issues: Anatomy issues, either from birth or an injury, can have a negative effect on your hearing health.
Treatment options can differ depending on the causes of your specific hearing loss. For hearing loss primarily caused by lifestyle issues such as aging or loud noise exposure over time, hearing aids can often provide an effective solution. If your hearing loss is being caused by a medical condition, you should seek an evaluation from a physician to ensure you find the best possible treatment option.
Tips on How to Avoid Hearing Loss
Exposure to loud noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Increased noise from industrial equipment, overuse of earbud headphones and regularly listening to excessive television volumes have all contributed to a decline in hearing health for most people. Some things you can do to proactively protect your hearing include:
- Using well-fitting, high quality headphones. Better quality headphones are able to achieve a clearer sound at a lower decibel level than their lower quality counterpart. Although it may cost more initially, the investment will pay off later in life.
- Letting your ears rest. After prolonged noise exposure (a concert or sporting event for example) you should give your ears a recovery period to rest. This gives your ears time to repair any damage that may have been caused and reduces the risk of permanent hearing loss.
- Using volume limits on your devices. In response to growing hearing loss concerns, many electronics now offer volume limits to help protect you from listening at an unsafe level. Check the settings on your phone or other devices to see if this option is available.
- Using Earplugs. The louder the noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the greater the chance of doing harm to your hearing. If you are in a situation where you cannot escape the noise, earplugs are a great way to protect your hearing.
- Getting your doctor involved. Ringing, buzzing and muffled sounds can all be indicators of hearing loss. If you feel noise exposure has led to hearing loss, you should have a conversation with your physician or audiologist immediately. Early detection gives you the best chance to stop or even reverse the effects of hearing loss. Regular hearing tests also help you track hearing loss over time.
How to Determine if You Suffer from Hearing Loss
The fastest and most accurate way to know if you are being effected by hearing loss is to ask your spouse. The second fastest way is to have a hearing test performed by a licensed audiologist. By getting a hearing test we are able to:
- Measure how much hearing loss you have.
- Determine if you will benefit from the use of a hearing aid.
- Determine if other medical treatment may be necessary.
- Track your hearing loss progression by comparing your hearing tests over time.