Hearing Loss Causes & Treatment
When people think of hearing loss, they often believe it only affects seniors. But did you know that approximately 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from some form of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss? That number doesn’t even include those under 69 who suffer hearing loss due to other factors, some of which are listed below.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
NIHL is the most common cause of hearing loss. Depending on a combination of factors including the intensity, frequency and duration of a noise, sound has the capability to damage our hearing.
Sudden hearing loss can occur from exposure to one very high level of sound, such as an explosion. Even though exposure may only last a brief amount of time, temporary or permanent damage is possible.
In most cases, damage will occur over time. Sounds less than 75 decibels will not cause hearing loss, but anything over 85 decibels may be harmful to our ears. Common sources of noises over 75 dB include music & live events, power tools such as chainsaws or leaf blowers, or even car horns in traffic.
Sleep apnea doesn’t only affect your sleep, it also increases your risk of losing your hearing due to the effects of the vascular supply to the inner ear. In a recent study conducted by American Thoracic Society, people with sleep apnea had a 31 percent increased risk of high frequency impairment and 90 percent of people had an increased risk of low frequency hearing impairment.
High blood glucose levels that are found in people with diabetes can damage vessels in the stria vascularis and nerves.If you have diabetes, it’s suggested that you set up regular hearing tests with your physician.
Due to smoking’s effect on vascular supply to the auditory system, smoking can cause hearing loss in both smokers and people who live with smokers.
Use of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen
Pain relievers like ibuprofen can reduce blood flow to the cochlea, which can lead to impaired hearing. They can also impact the structures that protect the cochlea.
Popping your ears on an airplane or in an elevator might make your ears feel better, but the pressure can result in a torn ear drum and damaged hearing.
How is Hearing Loss Diagnosed and Treated?
If you notice that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, don’t panic. It could be caused by NIHL, impacted ear wax, an ear infection, or some other source. Dr. Stern will perform several tests to determine what is causing the issue.
If hearing loss does occur, it can be treated, but not completely cured. Dr. Stern will be able to offer suggestions to prevent further hearing loss and may fit you with a hearing aid if necessary.
Call Stern Sinus at (206) 910-4641 and schedule your hearing loss consultation today!