Hearing Loss: The Signs and Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

Hearing loss is a common condition, and it affects more than half of the population over age 65. Unfortunately, hearing loss often goes unnoticed until it becomes more severe or leads to other problems. If you’re concerned that your hearing may be declining, however, you should pay attention to the symptoms. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly half of all adults over age 60 have difficulties hearing conversations in everyday life. This occurs because we spend so much time listening to music or watching TV that we don’t take advantage of the improved acoustics that comes with age. Signs and symptoms of hearing loss vary from person to person, but they generally become noticeable as they increase in severity and frequency over time. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common signs and symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss, which are caused by damage to the sensory cells in your inner ear called hair cells.

What is Sensorineorous Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused when the sensory cells of the inner ear are damaged, resulting in hearing loss. This type of hearing loss most commonly affects older adults, and it’s seen in about 30 percent of people over 65. Sensorineural hearing loss is divided into three stages. It begins with hearing loss in the mildest stage, which is often undetected. In the moderate stage, the hearing becomes less precise but still allows the person to function. 

Finally, in the severe stage, hearing loss is so severe that it requires hearing aids and audiology assistance or other assistance. Sensorineural hearing loss is an age-related hearing impairment that occurs when the sensors in the inner ear are damaged. It is often caused by medications, infection, ototoxicity, or aging. In severe cases, people may need hearing aids to improve their hearing.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when you experience ear damage due to frequent exposure to unsafe sounds, such as excessive music or sirens. You may have experienced this type of hearing loss if you experience vertigo, dizzy spells, or a ringing in your ears. Excessive exposure to loud sounds, such as those encountered at concerts or barbecues, is a common cause of hearing loss. Those who regularly play competitive sports are particularly susceptible to this condition. 

Presbycusis

Presbycusis is a form of hearing loss caused by the gradual deterioration of the tiny hair cells in the inner ear that transfer sound to your brain. As we age, our hearing becomes less precise, so we usually have to turn the volume up on the TV or the radio to hear it clearly. This type of hearing loss may be accompanied by a dulling of the sense of sound so people with it often report that their voices sound muffled. As people age, their hearing slowly declines. It’s common for people in their 60s and 70s to experience a slight loss in their hearing. However, those who are aging and have no signs or symptoms of hearing loss may not realize how quickly their hearing is deteriorating.

Congenital Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can also be caused by a congenital anomaly, also known as a birth defect. In some cases, hearing loss can be linked to chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, such as Down syndrome. Other causes of congenital hearing loss include infections of the fetus, exposure to certain medications during pregnancy, and certain genetic mutations. If you have a family history of hearing loss, it’s a good idea to get your hearing tested at an early age. Some studies have indicated that people who have age-related hearing loss are at a higher risk of developing additional hearing loss in their youth. A diagnosis of congenital hearing loss typically occurs when a child doesn’t respond to the usual speech or music, a condition known as sensorineural hearing loss. A hearing test is usually given to confirm the hearing loss.

Combined Hearing Loss

Hearing loss may be any combination of sensorineural and/or noise-induced hearing loss. In fact, a recent study found that 33 percent of people with hearing loss had only one kind of hearing loss. If you have hearing loss, you may notice that it becomes more noticeable at certain times of the day. Nighttime listening, for example, is when your hearing is weakest. In addition, hearing loss often worsens over time, and it can affect one ear or both ears.

Other Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can also be caused by certain diseases or conditions, such as infections, tumors, or injury to the ear. If you have hearing loss, it’s important to note that it’s not a sign of weakness or poor judgment. It’s simply the result of age-related hearing impairment, and it can be treated. In some cases, hearing aids can improve the quality of your hearing enough to allow you to function normally. Hearing loss can occur for a number of reasons, including age-related damage and certain medical conditions. Early detection and treatment are vital if you want to restore your ability to hear.

Deafness and Hearing Aid Requirements

Hearing aids are often used to treat hearing loss and improve the volume of sounds. If you have hearing loss, you’re probably familiar with the raised-volume sounds that indicate you need to turn the volume up. People who have hearing loss are also often required to use a cane or another device, such as a hearing aid, to help them navigate safely. If you show signs or symptoms of hearing loss, you should seek immediate medical attention. Hearing loss, like any other disease or condition, can become much worse if you ignore the symptoms. If you’re hearing-impaired, it’s important to understand that you may be experiencing different signs and symptoms than someone who has hearing loss but isn’t as impaired.

Summary

Hearing loss is a common condition that can occur at any age. It can be caused by age-related damage to the sensory cells in the cochlea, or it can be noise-induced. Hearing loss can also be caused by a congenital anomaly, such as a birth defect. In some cases, hearing loss can be linked to a disease or condition, such as an infection or tumor. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms discussed above, you may want to get your hearing tested at the audiology and hearing center. The sooner you address any hearing problems, the easier they are to treat. Hearing loss isn’t a sign of weakness or poor judgment, and it can be treated with hearing instruments or a cochlear implant.

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