You may not even be aware of your own hearing loss – especially if it has come on gradually. Friends and loved ones are usually the first to notice when you have difficulty understanding what others are saying.
And it doesn’t just affect the elderly. An estimated 1 in 4 adults between the ages of 20 and 69 have noise-induced hearing loss. Because nearly everyone seems to be wearing earbuds that plug them into their favorite podcast or music app, often played at outrageous volumes, the number of young people suffering from hearing loss seems destined to continue to rise.
Hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of – and struggling to hear what people around you are saying is no way to live. While you can’t reverse existing hearing loss, you can improve what you’re able to hear. Find out today if there is a simple solution to ensure the voices of your loved ones continue to come in crystal clear. Contact Georgetown ENT today for an audiology evaluation. Call (512) 869-0604 or request an appointment now.
Common Types & Causes of Hearing Loss
The ability to hear occurs when sound waves enter the ear and vibrate the eardrum, which helps to amplify the vibrations that continue their journey toward the cochlea of the inner ear. Thousands of tiny hairs on nerve cells in the cochlea help convert vibrations into electrical signals your brain can understand as sound. A problem anywhere along this path may result in hearing loss.
Your symptoms of hearing loss will vary depending on the type of hearing loss, its cause, and the extent of your impairment. Common types and causes of hearing loss include:
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
The most common cause of hearing loss is due to loud noises. This may be the result of a single exposure to a very loud sound, such as an explosion. Even though your exposure to the blast of noise may only be brief, temporary or permanent hearing damage is possible. More often, it is long-term exposure to loud noises that results in noise-induced hearing loss.
That’s because loud noises can damage the nerve cells or tiny hairs within the cochlea that are responsible for converting the sound vibrations that enter your ear into something resembling a sound you can identify.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be the result of many types of noise, including explosives, construction or factory work, loud engines (as on jets, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and race cars), loud music, and loud traffic and sirens, and more.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 70 decibels is considered a safe noise level. A conversation conducted at a comfortable level is usually about 60 decibels. In general, the louder the noise, the faster it can damage your hearing.
The buildup of pressure against the eardrum – as can occur with chronic ear infections – may lead to a perforated (ruptured) eardrum, which in turn can lead to hearing loss.
Blood Flow Issues
- Sleep apnea can affect the amount of oxygenated blood that flows to your inner ear. In addition, loud snoring associated with sleep apnea can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.
- Smoking – even secondhand smoke – can restrict your circulation. If inadequate oxygen and nutrients make it to your auditory system, you can experience hearing loss.
- Overuse of pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can impair blood flow to the inner ear and cause hearing impairment.
- Diabetes not only impairs your circulation, but it can damage nerves – including the nerves in the cochlea.
Hearing Loss Tests & Treatment in Georgetown, TX
Don’t panic if your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. The providers at Georgetown ENT can perform hearing and balance tests to identify hearing loss, help narrow down the cause, and rule out other conditions that may be impacting your hearing such as ear infections, earwax buildup, or some other cause.
We can also guide you toward just the right type of hearing aid or other solution if required. Call Georgetown ENT in Georgetown, Texas, at (512) 869-0604 to get started or request your appointment now.