Losing your hearing can occur for a number of reasons including genetics, age, and all those noisy concerts you went to when you were younger.
As it stands to today, more than 26.7 million Americans, who are 50 or older, have trouble with their hearing. For most, losing their hearing is a gradual process that they barely realise is even happening. Conversely, others find that their ears are working perfectly fine one day, and then not so perfectly working the next.
Below are considered the four most common types of hearing problems and what you can do to limit the damage caused by them.
You Have Problems Hearing in Noisy Environments
If you are being exposed to frequent loud noises as you age, you might have what is referred to as presbycusis. This is type of hearing loss occurs gradually over a period of time and is caused by the death of hair cells in the cochlea in your inner ear. These are the cells that are able to translate sound vibrations into brain signals and when they die it becomes increasingly difficult for people to be able to recognise certain sounds or to hear clear speech.
One of the first noticeable signs of hearing loss is having difficulty hearing in noisy places. This is because filtering out background noise is quite a complicated process requiring precise auditory input from both ears, while quiet conversations aren’t as difficult.
Although it’s impossible to fix cells that are already damaged, you can prevent further damage by limiting how often you are exposed to loud noises. Any one conversation will occur between 40 and 60 decibels, and any sound higher than that will put you at risk. iPods, CD players and sound speakers are the main culprits as they blast out as many as 105 decibels.
In the event that your loss of hearing is starting to affect your everyday activities, consult your local doctor about a hearing aid. You might consider them a distraction however the newer models, such as lyric hearing aids and other invisible hearing aids, are so sleek they don’t distract others.
A Feeling of Fullness in Your Ears
Excess mucus from an allergy or infection is able to block the Eustachian tube; the tube that connects your throat to the middle ear and regulates the airflow. Besides that feeling of fullness, you may also experience a popping or ringing sensation.
The good news is that a Eustachian tube dysfunction can improve once the infection has disappeared. If it hasn’t, then a doctor can prescribe you some medication to reduce inflammation.
Hearing Loss is Sudden
Sudden loss of hearing can be due to a build-up of fluid or swelling as a direct result of a virus or ear infection can affect hair cells and nerves. Hearing can be recovered if a doctor is able to prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation and prevent swelling of the auditory nerve; if left untreated it can cause permanent loss of hearing which may result in you having to wear a hearing aid such as a lyric hearing aid.
The smart thing to do would be to see your doctor or physician if you begin to suffer from sudden hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Fluctuates and Results in Nausea and Dizziness
This may mean that you have Meniere’s disease which is an uncommon disorder with no known cause that alters the amount or flow of the fluid in the inner ear. A recent study by the Hearing Health Foundation states that one in 500 people in the USA have the condition.
It can’t be cured, but the good news is that it can be treated. A diet consisting of low-sodium and a prescribed diuretic can help reduce the fluid in the inner ear. As previously mentioned, doctors may recommend injecting a steroid into the ear to reduce inflammation, or perhaps inserting a tube into the ear to drain excess fluid.