10 Things to Know About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is caused by more than loud music and old age.

As medical and audiological technology becomes more advanced, researchers continue to learn more about hearing loss, including its causes and effects. Until very recently, scientists were certain that the depletion of hair cells in the ear was the initial catalyst for hearing loss, and that these cells could not regenerate once damaged. After studying the inner ears of chickens, researchers found that they are among the only animals on the planet that can regrow hair cells and restore damaged hearing naturally, offering hope for those whose hearing has been weakened by excessive noise. Other recent studies have shown promising indications that hair cell regeneration may indeed be possible someday.

While there is still a lot that we don’t know about hearing loss, there are proven ways to reduce the likelihood of losing your hearing, although some causes and contributing factors are simply beyond our control. To promote better understanding of what the hard of hearing people in your life experience, here are ten things you should know about hearing loss:

  1. Hearing loss is called “the invisible handicap” because there are usually no obvious outward signs of its onset, and the loss is usually gradual and painless.
  2. Hearing loss is the most prevalent medical condition among seniors, following arthritis and hypertension.
  3. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss as those who don’t.
  4. Smokers and overweight individuals are also at increased risk of hearing loss.
  5. Inability to hear and understand instructions by physicians, pharmacists, or caregivers can put general health in jeopardy.
  6. Those who regularly use aspirin, acetaminophen, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs experience more hearing loss.
  7. In addition, men who take phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors are twice as likely to develop hearing loss as those who don’t.
  8. Hearing loss worsens feelings of depression, isolation, and alienation.
  9. Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing difficulties in adults and children, as opposed to hearing loss caused by aging or birth defects.
  10. Government research indicates the threshold for safe decibel level exposure is a maximum of 85dB. This is the equivalent of listening to busy city traffic eight hours a day.

For more information on possible causes and solutions for hearing loss, contact a hearing care professional online to schedule a no-obligation appointment. A hearing care professional can help you make the right decisions to preserve your hearing, test you for any hearing loss, or provide guidance on what to do next if you already know you aren’t hearing things as well as you used to.