5 Causes of Hearing Loss

Many people are unaware as to why they may be experiencing hearing loss. It’s important to know what’s causing hearing loss and how to reduce the effects of it if possible.

Below are 5 causes of hearing loss:

1. Noise Level

According to the NY Times, tens of millions of Americans, including 12-15 percent of school-age children, already have permanent hearing loss.

This is mainly due to exposure to noise over 85dB (kitchen blender, hair dryer, etc.) The more important thing to note is that portable music players can actually exceed a safe hearing level and produce sound well over 85dB.

A study done on college students by Goshorn and graduate research assistant Kathryn Jade White showed that 55% of the participants listened to music at over 85dB, whereas the rest preferred to listen under 85dB. This may not seem like a huge percentage, but taking into account the consequences of permanent hearing loss – it’s far too high.

How to Prevent Hearing Loss:

  • Don’t listen for more than 60 minutes at a time (not exceeding 60% volume)
  • Use over-the-ear headphones instead of ear buds
  • Use noise-cancelling headphones
  • Wear earplugs at concerts and while subjecting yourself to high levels of noise (mowing lawns, construction site, etc.)

2. Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis is a condition where abnormal bone growth occurs around the stapes bone, one of the tiny bones in the middle ear. This restricts the stapes bone from movement which is required for the ear to work properly and hear well.

Post mortem studies show that as many as 10% of people may have otosclerotic abnormalities, but this alone does not always cause hearing loss.

Caucasians are the most affected race, and otosclerosis is found twice as much in women compared to men.

There is no proven way to prevent otosclerosis, but fluoridated water is suspected to stabilize the condition.

3. Ménière’s disease

Ménière’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and feeling of congestion. It typically only affects one ear.

Ménière’s disease can also increase the prevalence of migraines for some people.

Unlike most causes of hearing loss, Ménière’s disease is a less consistent impairment and seems to come in fluctuations. It often leaves no lasting symptoms between bouts and generally doesn’t have a huge effect on one’s life.

There are an estimated 615,000 people with Ménière’s disease, and more than 45,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

There is no way proven to prevent Ménière’s disease.

4. AIED (Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease)

Autoimmune inner ear disease is an inflammatory condition of the inner ear. It’s brought on by the body’s immune system attacking cells in the inner ear, mistaking them for viruses or bacteria.

Despite its negative symptoms, AIED is very rare and occurs in less than one percent of the 28 million Americans with hearing loss.

AIED can also result in progressive hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus.

Prevention of AIED is still being researched. Steroid treatment can be used to manage AIED but it’s not a long term solution. Treatment and prevention is currently scarce as the disease is so rare, making it difficult to study.

5. Presbycusis

Presbycusis is probably the most common form of hearing loss. It affects more than half of all adults by age 75.

The most common consequence is an inability to hear higher frequencies (15-16 kHz and upwards). Other symptoms can include: apparent mumbled/slurred speech, difficulty understanding conversations, tinnitus, and more.

Presbycusis is most commonly caused by disorders of the inner ear or auditory nerve, but it can also be caused by changes in the bloody supply to the ear (due to heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.)

One can take measures to prevent presbycusis by reducing the exposure to loud noises (see cause #1). Hearing aids can help for some individuals and assistive listening devices can help improve hearing ability in certain situations.

Living with hearing loss?

At Assistech we have a wide-range of products designed to help people with hearing loss to live more comfortably.


Disclaimer: This information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician.


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