Hearing loss is more common than you may think. And it’s not just limited to the geriatric population. Many people from younger age groups experience hearing loss. It’s caused by a wide range of conditions, of which presbycusis (or aging) is only one of them. Here are some of the top causes for hearing loss in Red Bluff residents.
As a person gets older, some things start to wear out. In the ears, the tiny hairs that transmit sound waves can get damaged or die. Because these hair cells don’t grow again, the hearing loss is permanent.
Exposure to Loud Noise
Ongoing exposure to loud noise—such as blaring headphone music, rock concerts, airplanes, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and power tools—can also damage those delicate hair cells. Estimates say that around 30 million Americans are exposed to hazardous levels of noise on the job and thousands of them have suffered extensive, permanent hearing loss.
Head injuries and sudden changes in pressure can damage the ear and cause hearing loss. A fractured skull or a concussion can cause nerve damage or dislocate middle-ear bones. Flying, scuba diving, and driving into high altitudes are several activities that can impact the ear with sudden pressure and cause barotrauma. Mild barotrauma can resolve by itself, but severe barotrauma—such as from scuba diving—can result in permanent hearing loss. If barotrauma continues for more than several hours or is severe, you may need to consult with a doctor.
A wide range of illnesses can cause hearing loss. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, the flu, chicken pox, rheumatoid arthritis, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and meningitis are just some of the diseases that can cause ear infections and, ultimately, hearing loss.
Unfortunately, medications, which are prescribed to resolve other problems, can cause hearing loss. Some types of antibiotics (neomycin, streptomycin, erythromycin, and kanamycin), chemotherapy drugs, and large amounts of aspirin or Vicodin can result in permanent hearing loss.
Congenital hearing loss can be caused by premature birth, trauma during birth (such as a lack of oxygen), or maternal diabetes or infection. Neonatal jaundice may also be the culprit in some cases of infant hearing loss.
Almost every American has been exposed to some type of situation where hearing loss could occur. It’s important to be aware that it’s not just old age that causes someone to be hard of hearing—there are many other reasons why hearing for Red Bluff residents can be impacted. If you’re wondering whether you’ve suffered hearing loss, consider getting an appointment with Angela Batini, your local audiologist.