How Hearing Loss Occurs

healthy ear cilia

Healthy Cilia Hair Cells

damaged ear cilia

Damaged Cilia Hair Cells

Understanding Hearing Loss

To understand why hearing loss is so pervasive, it’s important to understand how hearing loss happens. Whether it’s due to damage or deterioration, hearing loss occurs when any part of our delicate hearing system stops working properly. The most susceptible and common parts to break down are the microscopic stereocilia, the thousands of tiny hair cells that detect and send sound impulses to the brain.

When these tiny cells become injured, diseased or die naturally, the result is sensory hearing loss. The damage prevents the hair cells from sending complete signals to your brain, causing you to be unable to understand the consonants within words. This is by far the most common type of hearing loss.hearing loss causes denver

How Hearing Loss Can Impact Your Life

If you think hearing loss is inconsequential, you should know that studies have linked untreated hearing loss to significant issues such as:

  • Diminished psychological and overall health.
  • Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks.
  • Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety.
  • Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations.
  • Social rejection and loneliness.
  • Fatigue, tension, stress, and depression.
  • Irritability, negativism, and anger.
  • Reduced job performance and earning power.[1]


stock-illustration-44878748-vector-checklist-with-pencilHearing Loss Checklist

Now that you know more about hearing loss, how do you know if that’s what you’re experiencing? This quick yes/no quiz might hold the key.

  • Can you hear, but you can’t understand? Among the first sounds that “disappear” are high-pitched sounds like women’s and children’s voices. Also, you mistake similar high-pitched sounds, such as “fifty” and “sixty”.
  • Do you find yourself complaining that some people mumble or slur their words?
  • Do you have difficulty understanding what’s being said, unless you are facing the speaker?
  • Are you continually asking certain people to repeat words or phrases, though they feel they are speaking loud enough?
  • Do you prefer the TV or radio louder than others do?
  • Do you have difficulty understanding conversation within a group of people?
  • Do you avoid group meetings, social occasions, public facilities or family gatherings where listening may be difficult?
  • Do you have trouble hearing at the movies, concert halls, houses of worship or other public gatherings – especially where sound sources are at a distance from the listener?


If you answered “yes” to several of these questions, then it’s time to choose better hearing.


[1] Better Hearing Institute, 2013