Hearing loss is a common problem that everyone faces in time. While this is commonly a gradual occurrence, it can also be caused by noise, disease, or heredity. Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

Different Types:

Hearing loss can involve the inner, middle, or outer ear. There are 3 different forms of hearing loss: conductive (involving the outer or middle ear), sensorineural (involving the inner ear), or mixed (a combination of the two). Conductive occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. This can occur from a buildup of earwax, fluid, or even a punctured eardrum. Removing the buildup or surgery in the case of a punctured eardrum can usually restore the ability to hear. Sensorineural is caused by damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. This form of hearing loss is permanent.

Causes:

The most common cause of hearing loss is loud noise. Loud noises, such as lawn mowers, loud music, shooting range, snow blowers, airplanes (when in close contact), can cause damage in the inner ear. It is important to protect your ears when around such noises. Wear headphones, or turn down the volume on stereos or televisions, and even just moving away from loud noises can help protect your hearing.

Health conditions and old age contribute to hearing loss. Certain medications can lead to difficulty hearing, as well as viruses, heart conditions, brain injury, and more. It can also be heredity, although not all inherited forms take place at birth. Instead the difficulty can show up later in life. It is important to care for your ears throughout your lifetime as to prevent difficulty and prolong your hearing.

To schedule an appointment with an ENT here at National Allergy & ENT, please call (843) 576-3302 or schedule online.