Do you find yourself asking others to repeat what they have said? Does this happen not once, but sometimes twice or more? Maybe there’s more to the fact that your spouse has to constantly ask you to turn down the TV. If all this sounds familiar, it could be due to hearing loss.
Many people dismiss hearing loss, especially in young people, but it can happen to anyone and the impact can significantly harm your health. It can also strain your relationships and leave you feeling lonely.
Here’s how to recognize the early signs of hearing loss and take action to protect yourself.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Three principal types of hearing loss exist. Sometimes, the impairment results from a single identifiable cause. Other times, a mixture of elements play a role.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
This form of hearing loss occurs from problems within the inner ear. It happens when the nerves or the tiny hairs (stereocilia), become damaged. It impacts the neural pathway through which sound travels from the outside to your brain.
Some principal causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
- Exposure to loud noises: Listening to headphones with the volume cranked or exposure to environmental noise.
- Head trauma: A blow to the head can damage the nerves, resulting in deafness.
- Temporal arteritis: This condition causes the temple arteries to become inflamed, leading to ringing in your ears and head and neck pain.
- Viral infections: Some hearing loss results from a virus or the high fever that accompanies it.
- Autoimmune disease: Some autoimmune diseases, such as Meniere’s disease, can cause hearing loss.
- Aging: Many older adults suffer some degree of hearing loss with age.
- Tumors: Like any other organ, you can get cancer in your ear, although it is rare.