Hearing problems can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, significantly impacting their quality of life. While some hearing issues may be temporary and easily resolved, others can be permanent and require medical intervention.
According to the US CDC, around 15.5 percent of American adults have trouble hearing. That’s around 40 million people who suffer from hearing problems like hearing damage, hearing loss, permanent hearing loss, etc.
It’s essential to be aware of the various factors that can lead to hearing problems to take preventive measures or seek treatment when necessary. In this article, we will explore some of the most common reasons why you might be suffering from hearing problems.
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Age-Related Hearing Loss
One of the most prevalent reasons for hearing problems, especially in older adults, is age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis. As we age, the delicate structures within the ear that facilitate hearing naturally degrade over time. According to the National Institutes of Health, around one in three Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from hearing loss.
While age-related hearing loss is a natural part of growing older, there are ways to manage and mitigate its effects. Hearing aids and assistive listening devices can significantly improve hearing and quality of life for individuals experiencing presbycusis. Regular hearing check-ups with an audiologist can help detect and address age-related hearing loss early, leading to better outcomes.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
As reported by DW, the world is getting noisier every year. The rise in noise pollution is hurting not just people but animals and plants as well.
Exposure to loud noises is another common cause of hearing problems, affecting people of all ages. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can occur as a result of a single, intense noise event, or gradually, due to prolonged exposure to loud environments. Individuals at risk of NIHL include musicians, construction workers, factory employees, and those who regularly attend concerts or use audio devices at high volumes.
To prevent noise-induced hearing loss, it’s crucial to wear ear protection in noisy environments and limit exposure to loud sounds when possible. Using noise-canceling headphones and keeping the volume at safe levels when listening to music or using earphones can also help safeguard your hearing.
Medications and Ototoxic Substances
Some medications and substances can have adverse effects on hearing and are referred to as ototoxic. These substances can damage the inner ear or auditory nerve, leading to hearing problems.
Common ototoxic medications include certain antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and chemotherapy drugs. Tepezza, used to treat thyroid eye disease, has also been found to cause hearing loss. Recently, after the Tepezza lawsuit, this medicine was also found to be an ototoxic drug.
According to TruLaw, initial trials of the drug showed that it’s very effective in treating thyroid eye disease. However, further studies showed that the drug can lead to hearing loss. That’s why the Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit was filed so that the Tepezza victims (consumers) can seek compensation for their losses.
If you are taking medications known to be ototoxic, it’s essential to communicate with your healthcare provider about any changes in your hearing. They may adjust your treatment plan or recommend alternative medications to mitigate the risk of hearing damage.
In addition to medications, exposure to ototoxic chemicals in the workplace or through recreational activities (e.g., solvent exposure or recreational drug use) can also pose a risk to your hearing. Minimizing exposure to these substances and using protective measures, such as earplugs, can help prevent hearing problems.
Infections and Diseases
Various infections and diseases can affect the ear and lead to hearing problems. Otitis media, an infection of the middle ear, is common in children and can cause temporary hearing loss. Chronic ear infections, if left untreated, may result in long-term hearing impairment.
Certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and autoimmune disorders, can also impact hearing. These conditions can damage blood vessels, nerves, and other structures critical for auditory function.
Prompt treatment of ear infections and management of underlying health conditions are crucial in preventing or minimizing hearing loss associated with infections and diseases.
Genetics and Family History
Hearing problems can also be hereditary, with a genetic predisposition playing a significant role in some cases. If hearing loss runs in your family, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing hearing problems yourself. Genetic factors can influence the development and function of the inner ear, making certain individuals more susceptible to hearing impairment.
Regular hearing screenings and discussions with your healthcare provider can help identify potential genetic factors that may contribute to your hearing problems. Early detection and intervention are vital in managing hereditary hearing loss and ensuring appropriate treatment.
Hearing problems are becoming more and more common these days. Whether it be for noise pollution or our lifestyle, this health problem is a dangerous one. Impairment surrounding one of our most vital senses can lead to a lot of difficulties in our lives.
From our discussion above, you can tell why hearing problems occur. Therefore, keep these points in mind and do your best to navigate these problems as much as you can. If you’re experiencing hearing difficulties, consult with a healthcare professional or audiologist for a comprehensive evaluation.