Hear Us Out: Prevent Hearing Loss before It Sets In
As we age, many of our functions gradually decline. Unfortunately, one of those functions is our hearing. Being able to hear sounds is crucial; it warns us of danger, enables us to maintain social relationships, and allows us to enjoy music. Currently, 15% of people in America ages 20 and up suffer from “moderate or greater” hearing loss. This number is expected to rise as the population ages.
There are many causes and types of hearing loss. It is important to be aware of each of them so that you can preserve your hearing for as long as possible. The main thing to remember is to avoid prolonged loud noises.
Types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The main reason hearing loss occurs as we get older is that the tiny hairs in our inner ear (cochlea) become damaged or die. These hairs do not regrow, so the hearing loss is permanent. However, there are technological devices which can help reduce the symptoms of this type of hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss can also add onto the effects of age-related hearing loss (called presbycusis), causing it to occur earlier on in life. Both noise-related hearing loss and presbycusis are types of sensorineural hearing loss.
Conductive Hearing Loss
While sensorineural hearing loss involves the inner ear, conductive hearing loss involves a problem with the outer or middle ear. It can be caused by too much earwax, ear infections, or a punctured eardrum. This type of hearing loss can be either temporary or permanent.
Mixed Hearing Loss
As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive hearing loss and sensorimotor hearing loss.