When you think about hearing loss, you may think of the elderly. However, the truth is, 36 million adults in America suffer from hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Thus, it’s much more common than you may have thought. It can even happen to kids and teens. Whether suddenly through trauma to the head or gradually over time, hearing can worsen if not treated early. While you may associate hearing loss with aging, not all loss occurs naturally, such as in the instance of tinnitus brought on by an explosion or as a result of time. Check out these facts on hearing loss that may shed some light on the subject.
Fact #1: Hearing loss can show up in children, teens and adults, through physical trauma causing deafness at virtually any age. In fact, it’s common for kids and teenagers to develop malformations of the inner ear during their growth and development.
Fact #2: Some hearing loss can be corrected through medication or surgery but these options aren’t the best for all patients.
Fact #3: Fluids that fill the ear due to colds and allergies result in conductive hearing loss, with medical treatment from a doctor the only way to recover all or part of your hearing. Ear infections can also lead to hearing loss.
Fact #4: The three main categories of hearing loss include conductive, sensorineural and mixed, which is a combination of the two former conditions. Conductive hearing loss happens when damage affects the physical structure of the ear and ear canal, while sensorineural hearing loss affects the inner ear as a result of nerve damage.
Fact #5: A virus believed to cause sudden sensorineural hearing loss may be the culprit in some circumstances.
Fact #6: Sensorineural hearing loss can come about due to gradual hearing loss over many years spending time in loud environments, such as in the workplace, or it can be caused by sudden loud noises, also referred to as acoustic trauma.
Fact #7: Sometimes, hearing loss is caused by diseases such as Meniere’s Disease, and even as a result of diseases that aren’t even found in the ear. In addition, central nervous system disorders can bring on hearing loss and deafness. Parents: have your kids’ hearing tested if they like to listen to music via headphones and ear buds. Correction of the hearing loss depends on the ability to reverse it.
Fact #8: Evaluation by an ear specialist is important if you want to recover from hearing loss. We lose some hearing naturally as we age, so minimize hearing loss through regular consultation with your doctor, who can apply medication treatments if necessary.
Fact #9: If you suffer from a foreign body in the ear, impacted ear wax or physical damage due to head trauma, you may be a good candidate for surgery to improve these conditions. Surgery isn’t always the best way to go, though. You’ll need to undergo a complete exam by your doctor to determine whether or not surgery is right for you.
Fact #10: Medication is used in many cases to cure some hearing loss, such as that caused by ear canal infections, allergies and certain diseases. Your first step should be to consult with your doctor to find out the exact cause.