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What Are the Causes of Hearing Loss?

Losing any of your five senses can be extremely painful for a person and make it extremely difficult for one to perform their daily life chores like a normal person. All of our five senses are equally important but unfortunately, around 48 million of people in the US have reported experiencing some degree of hearing loss as they age and it is estimated that more than 360 million people all over the world have some kind of hearing disability. Amongst the five senses, hearing loss holds the largest share in the US.

Sooner or later, we will experience some kind of hearing loss in our life. It’s one of those natural consequences of aging. As soon as we approach our 30s, more than half of the people suffer from major hearing loss. As we all know, loud noise is one of the biggest reasons why people endure significant hear loss. However, to better understand what kind of hearing loss you are going through, you need to know the different types of hearing loss:

3 Types of Hearing Loss

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss

Hearing loss that occurs due to problems in the eardrum, ear canal or the little bones in the middle ear known as stapes, incus, and malleus.

  1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Hearing loss that occurs due to problems in the inner ear – this type of hearing loss is also known as nerve-related disability because the nerves get damaged.

  1. Mixed Hearing Loss

This is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. The damage may be either in the auditory nerve, the middle or outer ear or the cochlea (inner ear).

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Often people chalk up hearing loss to ear wax buildup. It is in fact, difficult to tell whether you didn’t hear what the other person said because they were speaking in a hushed tone or if you truly are losing your hearing. Here are some symptoms of hearing loss that will help you seek aid faster:

  • Misunderstanding people when you are in a noisy crowd

  • Difficulty in hearing what the other person said

  • Asking people to repeat whatever they were saying

  • Concentrating very hard to catch what people are saying

  • Watching TV or listening to music loudly

Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is mostly caused by obstructions, such as:

  • Perforated eardrum

  • Allergies

  • Foreign growth in the ear (Otosclerosis)

  • Wax buildup

  • Benign tumors

  • Infections in the ear canal

  • Damaged Eustachian tube function

  • Malformation of middle ear structures, ear canal or outer ear

  • Fluid in the ear due to colds

  • Dislocation of the ear bones

Causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss

  • Aging

  • Injury

  • Meningitis

  • Smoking

  • Hypertension

  • Diabetes

  • Heredity

  • Obesity

  • Virus or disease

  • Loud noise

  • Acoustic tumors

  • Head trauma

  • High fever

  • Meniere’s disease (inner ear disorder)

  • Otosclerosis (prevents the small bone in the ear from vibrating)

Before your hearing loss gets worse to using sign language, seek medical help immediately. In severe cases, where your eardrum has been damaged or you are suffering from Otosclerosis, it is better to get an implant or hearing aid right away.