Hearing loss can occur for all kinds of reasons. Everything from head injuries to anxiety may cause hearing loss. Below are 5 of the most common causes, as well as a few tips on how to prevent and treat these forms of hearing loss.
Our hearing can naturally get worse as we get older. There’s not much you can do to prevent this, although living a healthy lifestyle may help to delay it (health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure can contribute to hearing loss). Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to age-related hearing loss and that is to get a hearing aid. At what point should you consider getting a hearing aid fitted? Ideally, whenever it becomes noticeable. For example, if you find yourself unable to hear conversations or you’re constantly being told by others that you ignore them or that the volume on the TV is too loud, it could be time to see an audiologist.
Exposure to loud noise could result in premature hearing loss. You may also experience other hearing problems like tinnitus. Prolonged exposure to noises above 85dB can start to damage hearing – that’s the equivalent of a noisy restaurant or heavy traffic. If you work in a noisy environment, it is advised that you wear earplugs or ear defenders to protect your hearing. Earplugs can also be worth wearing when going to loud concerts and motorsports events. Noise-exposure-related hearing loss can be treated the same way as aging-related hearing loss – by wearing a hearing aid.
Build-ups of earwax can sometimes lead to blockages, which may result in you being unable to hear properly. Some people are more prone to earwax build-ups than others due to having narrower or hairier ear canals. Other people may cause earwax blockages themselves by misusing cotton buds (contrary to popular belief, you’re not meant to put cotton buds in your ears as this usually just pushes earwax further into your ears). To get rid of excess earwax, consider buying eardrops from your local pharmacy. Professional ear cleaning could be another option, which may involve pumping water into the ear or using microsuction. Once the excess earwax is removed, you should be able to hear properly again.
Ear infections can also cause hearing loss. You’ll likely know if you have an infection because it will be accompanied by pain or discharge. These infections are caused by bacteria or fungus getting into the ear, which could be brought on by something as simple as a cold or getting water trapped in your ear. If you think you may have an infection, you should see a doctor. They may be able to prescribe antibiotics to help treat the infection. Some infections clear up on their own, but it’s worth seeing a doctor just in case this doesn’t happen. Once the infection is gone, your hearing should gradually return back to normal, providing that it wasn’t a serious infection.
Some people experience temporary hearing loss after taking certain medication like aspirin or chemotherapy drugs. This is usually accompanied by ringing in the ears and dizziness and is quite sudden. If you experience this reaction, you may want to lower your dosage or avoid taking this medication. This type of hearing loss usually goes away once you stop taking the medication – if this isn’t the case, you may want to talk to a doctor.