Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in developed countries such as the U.S., Canada, and Britain. While this problem does not seems as a dramatic or threatening as other health issues, medical experts know that hearing loss greatly affects the quality of a person’s life, and relationships with others.
The Growing Problem of Hearing Loss
In the past the largest number of people who experienced hearing loss were advanced in age. In fact, one out three people between the ages of 65 to 74 experience some type of hearing loss. It is believed that genes play an important role in who will or will not develop problems with hearing as they age. While researchers aren’t completely sure why age is such a factor in hearing loss, they can explain why the number of younger people with hearing impairment is growing. As those individuals who have spent their lives in noisy environment reach the age of 40 they too are becoming a growing statistic for those with some hearing loss.
Noise and Hearing Damage
Loud and continuous noise will wear down the delicate parts of the ear, causing damage. Those individuals whose work involves high noise levels such as road repair laborers and construction workers all too frequently experience some hearing loss. Wearing protection for the ears is becoming more common and even mandatory in some professions. Musicians whose ability to hear is so central to their ability have also typically seen some hearing problems, a sad factor in some tragically short careers. Many now wear protective earplugs that allow them to hear music, while still offering the inner workings of their ears some protection. Those who listen to music at high volume for long periods of time are also at risk of damaging their hearing.
Medications and Hearing Loss
Some medications are known to cause issues with hearing. In fact as many as 200 different medicines carry a warning regarding hearing balance related side effects. These medications are typically given only in dire need and include treatments for malaria, antibiotics, and chemotherapy drugs. Some common drugs can also cause problems such as aspirin, and erectile dysfunction. Reading information including possible side effects is important when taking any medications and concerns should be discussed with a doctor.
Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden hearing loss isn’t common, but it can affect an individual at any age. In most cases this type of problem will affect only one ear. This type of loss can happen within several hours, or over the course of a few days. In many cases of sudden hearing loss no cause for the problem is ever found.
Illness and Trauma
Some illness unrelated to the ears can cause problems with this sense including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. This is usually due to interference with the blood supply to the ears, or bone loss. Trauma to the ears resulting from skull fractures or a punctured eardrum place an individual at serious risk for hearing loss.