Hearing loss is a partial or complete loss of sound in one or both the ear. Hearing loss occurs gradually with age. A report of the National Institute on Deafness and other communication disorders shows that 25% of hearing loss occurs between the age of 65-74. (Source)
According to various organizations, hearing loss is categorized into three types depending upon the underlying conditions.
As there are different types of hearing loss, the reasons associated may vary.
To know more about the reasons, read below:
Conductive Hearing Loss
This hearing loss is the result of obstruction in the outer or middle ear mostly due to fluids, tumors, earwax or even ear formation.This obstruction prevents sounds from reaching to the inner ear.This hearing loss can be treated surgically or with medicine.
Causes of Conductive Hearing Loss
Conditions affecting the outer and/or middle ear cause conductive hearing loss which is often treatable and may, therefore, be temporary.
Foreign bodies can block the passage of sound to the ear drum.
Inflammation & Trauma:
The external ear can be damaged by inflammation & trauma which can be the reason of disturbed passage of sound.
Excessive wax might be a reason of blockage in the ear canal.
Perforated Ear Drum:
Eardrum is the most vulnerable for perforation and infection if any external object (e.g. ear bud) is being inserted or damage of ear drum accidentally.
Otosclerosis is another common reason of affected ossicular chain in adults. This is a hereditary condition but, because it does not appear in every generation of an affected family, the genetic connection is often not obvious. On the positive side, otosclerosis can be successfully treated surgically but, for those who do not wish to have surgery or where surgery is only partially successful, hearing aids are usually remarkably effective.
Any abnormal pressure in the middle ear cavity (e.g. flying or diving), due to inadequate ventilation and drainage of the middle ear cavity, can put the eardrum under such stress that it perforates. This may lead to partial or complete hearing loss.
A benign cyst in the middle ear containing air, fluid and/or connective tissues. It gradually enlarges, not only resulting in hearing loss but, if left untreated surgically, it can be life-threatening from complications such as mastoiditis and meningitis.
Although affecting the eardrum as well, a potentially dangerous condition, which can impact all structures in the middle ear and beyond, is cholesteatoma.
Otitis media is a group of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear. Any swelling in the ear canal due to allergy, skin infection or inflammation (called otitis externa) can affect hearing.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL)
The most common type of hearing is SNHL, known as Sensorineural hearing loss. A permanent hearing loss happens when there is damage in the inner ear structures that hinder the brain's pathway, weakening the nerve signals reach the brain. The blocked nerve signals are essential for the clarity and loudness of the sound. At times, it may be treated medically or surgically but can be helped mostly with the use of hearing aids.
As SNHL is permanent, and it causes loud and distant sound unclear, there are numerous triggers such as,
Causes of sensorineural hearing loss
Disorders of the inner ear or central auditory system cause sensorineural hearing loss which is usually not medically or surgically treatable and is, therefore, generally permanent.
As we age, many of us will experience loss of memory, sight, and hear. It is generally related to noise exposure hearing loss is caused.
For those working in noisy places of construction, military or music industry, can eventually lead to hearing loss.
This happens when tuning is lost between the inner ear and sense of balance, ultimately hearing loss.
Hereditary conditions lead to deaf children or develop hearing loss in the growth course.
Illness and Injury:
Infection such as mumps, measles, shingles lead to hearing loss. Some diseases cause high fevers and can be the factor of hearing loss.
It generally leads to conductive hearing loss, but permanent damage does happen if not taken care of. Seek timely treatment.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused due to some medications known as ototoxic drugs.
Cardiovascular Disease & Diabetes:
Disturbed blood supply to the inner ear and hearing centers in the brain can be a reason of partial and complete hearing loss by age. High sugar level in the blood can also be a reason for disturbed functionalities in the hearing process.
Mixed hearing loss
Mixed hearing loss occurs when conductive damage in the middle ear and SNHL damage in the inner ear occur together. This usually happens when the ear goes through some trauma or when one hearing loss is compound by another.
If you have hearing loss due to these underlying reasons, it's better to visit a doctor and get diagnosed early. Untreated hearing loss can hurt health, hence treat it at the right time.