Hearing loss may be present at the time of birth, called as congenital hearing loss, or develop later in the life, called as acquired hearing loss. Timely diagnosis and treatment is very important in improving the quality of life of the affected person. Hearing loss is also classified on the basis of the part of the ear affected. In some cases, the parts of the nervous system associated with hearing is affected, while in some others, the part of the ear that conducts the sound to the nervous system is affected. Hearing loss may be caused by several factors, including age, illness, medications, genetics, and many other environmental factors.
Some of the common causes of hearing loss includes:
- Age – Aging is one of the most common causes of this condition. It is common between the ages of 65-years-old and 75-years-old and the risk of hearing loss increases considerably after an individual passes 75-years-old. Experts believe that years of exposure to noise may affect and impair the hearing mechanism. Genes may also play a role in hearing loss with aging.
- Noise – Loud and continuous noise may affect hearing after a period of time.
- Medications – Certain medications may also affect hearing and also impair the balance and coordination. The culprits includes some antibiotics, drugs used in chemotherapy, aspirin, some diuretics, and drugs used in the treatment of malaria.
- Diseases and conditions – Heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes may increase the risk of hearing loss by affecting the blood supply to the ears. Bone disease affecting the middle ear bones and inner ear may impair hearing.
- Trauma – Fracture of the skull and tearing of eardrum due to accidents and other physical trauma may increase the risk of hearing loss.
- Ear infection – Ear infection is another cause that may affect hearing
- Ear wax – Accumulation of ear wax may block the canal and reduce hearing in some people.
Some of the common symptoms of this condition include:
- Difficulty in deciphering conversations over phone
- Difficulty to hear with a background noise
- Inability to understand a conversation when more than one person is talking
- Feeling that other person is mumbling or speaking in a low volume
- Inappropriate responses
- Misunderstanding when people talk
- Often asking the other person to repeat
- Keeping the TV in a loud volume
- Ringing in ear