This is one of the questions we are asked most often. The definition of hearing loss is simple: you are unable to hear normal conversations. It’s also extremely common with over 22 million hearing impaired Americans and 10 million suffering from hearing loss.

As to the possible causes of hearing loss, the most common is aging, known technically as age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis. As we get older the nerves and sensitive hair cells in the inner ear begin to break down resulting in presbycusis or age-related hearing loss. Symptoms of this type of hearing loss are experienced as being unable to distinguish the difference between consonants like T, K, S, P, and F, or not hearing high-pitched sounds like the voices of women and children. The next most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), also called acoustic trauma, which is caused by repeated exposure to loud noises. It can happen as a result of being around loud music (such as attending or working in loud nightclubs) or working with noisy machines or equipment. Age-related and NIHL are both sensorineural hearing loss that is often irreversible. Fortunately this type of hearing loss can be improved with the use of hearing aids to amplify and refine sound.

Conductive hearing loss is different, and is characterized by a blockage in the ear canal that prevents sound from reaching the eardrum; the most common cause of this is the most easily treated and reversed, a buildup of ear wax. Conductive hearing loss can also be the result of fluid in the middle ear, or by an abnormal bone formation in the ear called otosclerosis. This causes the inner ear to be less effective at transmitting and receiving sounds.

Some medications – such as antibiotics and drugs used to treat cancer – can cause hearing loss, as can infections attacking the ear canal and middle ear. There are also common diseases that may result in hearing loss, such as diabetes, M√©ni√®re’s disease, a form of non cancerous tumor called acoustic neuroma, heart disease, and stroke.

The important thing, if you are experiencing any degree of hearing loss, is to make an appointment so that we can test your hearing and determine what the cause of it may be and advise you on how to best treat it. Don’t suffer with hearing loss that gets worse over time; improve your quality of life by consulting a professional today.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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