Dr. Molly LeRoy, Audiologist at House of Hearing explains what causes hearing loss

What Causes Hearing Loss?

We know that hearing loss is the third most common health condition affecting Americans today. This is an alarming statistic when you consider how important hearing is to our everyday livelihood.

Approximately 1 in 8 Americans experience a hearing loss, ranging from kids to people over the age of 75. Hearing loss can start at any age for all kinds of reasons.

We often overlook hearing loss as an age-related issue that is inevitable. However, this is a myth, and hearing loss can be prevented or at least mitigated. With many causes of hearing loss, we need to take action against it.

Before we do that, let’s dive a little deeper and discuss how hearing loss develops and how you can hinder its progress.

First Signs Of Hearing Loss

We have all witnessed hearing loss at some point or another. In most cases, this is with an elderly member of the family – but that doesn’t mean younger people aren’t susceptible to it. Even though someone has developed a hearing loss, it doesn’t mean we can’t treat it.

Prevention is still the best way to protect yourself, so if you see any of these signs, then it’s time to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment right away.

  • Difficulty understanding what is being said in conversation, muffled speech
  • Regularly turning up the TV
  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves and not hearing things clearly
  • Difficulty hearing people on the phone
  • Hearing is worse when sound comes from one side

The Most Common Causes Of Hearing Loss

With so many things causing hearing loss, I wanted to narrow down the list a bit to just the most common instances. Most patients I see have developed a hearing loss via one of these scenarios.

The good news is, hearing loss caused by anything listed below is usually treatable.

  • Aging
  • Noise exposure
  • Ear injuries
  • Illnesses

Can Hearing Loss Be Genetic?

Hearing loss can also be passed down through genetics. Not all hearing loss is tied to genetics, but many medical issues or syndromes prove that a person could be more predisposed to developing a hearing loss than others.

The best way to figure out the cause of your hearing loss is to schedule an appointment with us. Here, we will conduct a hearing test and go over your symptoms to give you a proper diagnosis.

After we find the root cause of your problem, we’ll devise a plan to limit your exposure to that issue. Your hearing will only worsen if no action is taken, and even with assistance from a hearing care professional, there will need to be some change to the routines that brought you to our office in the first place.

What Is The Best Way To Prevent Hearing Loss?

Often hearing loss is progressive and will become more prominent with age.

However, if appropriately fit, hearing aids have been shown to preserve your ability to understand even if your hearing threshold declines. Your ability to hear is different from your ability to understand.

While we can’t predict how your hearing will change over time, we know that it will not improve in cases of nerve hearing loss. For most people, hearing worsens gradually over long periods of time. It’s best to stay ahead of the problem and treat it as soon as possible.

The Long-Term Effects Of Untreated Hearing Loss

No matter what stage of hearing loss you or a loved one may be at currently, it will progress. Leaving your hearing unattended is a recipe for disaster because whatever is causing it is compounding each day.

Eventually, this causes a person to start to withdraw from their routine. It’s easier for them to cancel plans and not show up to social functions because listening is just too hard.

Long-term effects of hearing loss without treatment can also contribute to dementia, cognitive decline, memory issues, and speech problems. Therefore, I encourage everyone to address their hearing issues as soon as they arise.

Is Hearing Loss Really That Bad?

In most cases, if you’re asking this question, then you already know the answer. Yes, it is.

If you’re concerned about your hearing, an audiologist can help you to determine if you need treatment or not. Once a hearing loss is identified, your audiologist will be able to discuss all the reasons that treating a hearing loss is essential.

Most people can “get by” with a significant hearing loss, but it does cause a lot of damage to your existing hearing, cognitive function, and your lifestyle.

How Often Should You Have Your Hearing Checked?

Any time that you are concerned about your hearing, you should have it assessed.

Your hearing can change without you noticing at first. The only way to identify this is by having a comprehensive hearing assessment done. This test shows us everything we need to know about the status of your hearing.

Even without concerns, or if you have never had a test before, establishing a baseline should be performed at age 50. Updated tests should be performed annually so we can catch problems before they get out of hand.

If you have any questions about your hearing loss or a loved one’s, please call us anytime. We are happy to speak with you to chat about programs, procedures, and available options at any time.