What Causes Hearing Impairment

When it comes to the loss of hearing or hearing in general there are many causes behind different types of hearing loss. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can either have impairment at birth or it could be an impairment in their old age. Loss of hearing can be a cause of a blast of loud noise, an effect of toxins, injury, or an infection. Luckily, for those individuals with hearing impairments, there is treatment of severe hearing impairment, which can alter most loss of hearing that people suffer from. Hearing loss is a decrease in a person’s ability to hear and understand speech around them. If an individual is deaf or hard of hearing, this often occurs when part of the nerves or ear carry information on sounds to the brain which are not working in the usual way. In some cases, the sense of hearing or hearing loss can be temporary, however, it can become permanent when parts of the ear have been beyond damaged. To find out more information on the cause of hearing loss and the causes behind different types, continue to read below.

Causes of hearing loss:

Excessive noise at work: When people are deaf or hard of hearing, this can be caused by excessive noise, as this one of the most dangerous, common causes of loss of hearing, and occupational related hearing loss continues to be a substantial problem within the work environment. The worst environment for any hearing loss, and the most vulnerable people for hearing loss are exposed to heavy machinery, construction, maintenance equipment, snow removal equipment, or even first responders and transportation workers. This impairment in a group of people are susceptible to further hearing impairment than other workers. 85 dB frequency is the maximum for noise levels that should not be exceeded without protection. If it happens to be higher, it is advised to reduce the noise or better yet, wear some ear protection. When workers are exposed to loud noises in the work environment, they can experience an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or temporary. Surprisingly enough, even noise-reduction measurement such as fitting carpeting or wall covers can greatly reduce noise pollution inside a room. It is good to know that very loud noise over 140 dB can do permanent damage to your hearing almost immediately. To put more context, normal conversations between people occur around the frequency of 60 dB frequency and lawnmowers are about 90 dB frequency when they are being operated.

Loud machinery: Loud noise frequency is very harmful to hearing, especially to the cochlea, which is the inner part of the ear. Loud noise from machinery can damage the cells and membranes inside the cochlea. If someone is constantly exposed to loud noise frequency for a long time, this puts the hair cells in the ear into overdrive and causes the cells to die as they are being overworked. Even after the loud noise exposure has stopped, harmful effects can continue to happen. If a person is exposed to loud machinery, they should use protective measurement such as ear plugs and giving the ears a break from the exposure. Normally when damage has happened to the inner ear or auditory neural system, this is permanent.

Concerts: As we all know, concerts or venues can be extremely loud and harmful to hearing, and it is not exactly possible to turn the volume down to a sensible level. It is advised to make use of ear plugs that are supplied, or to bring ear protection of your own to protect your ears. Additionally, staying in a very loud environment for too long can be harmful to your hearing, and it is a good idea to never stand directly to a loud speaker. If you are going to be at a concert for a bit, it would be wise to give your ears a break by going outside or going to the back of the venue where the sound may not be as loud.

Disease/Infection: Changes in your hearing can occur when you have an ear infection, this is usually caused by bacteria in the origin. Ear infections are very common in a child, and detailed care should be considered when it comes to these cases. Oddly enough, washing ears with impure water can be a big trigger for an ear infection, which can lead to a loss of hearing in people. A common disease is called ‘acute middle ear disease’ which can often start with the flu or a runny nose. When you have middle ear disease, this means that the area between the inner ear and ear drum are inflamed and can be very painful. Apart from being painful, this can lead to hearing loss in people.  The mucous membrane which lines the middle ear begins to build up of negative pressure in the ear, and may begin to secrete fluid, which is not a good sign.

Foreign Bodies in the Ear: Surprisingly enough, the professional’s advise people to never use q-tips, as they can damage the ear canal. The damage of cotton buds outweighs the benefits of trying to get earwax out. The cotton buds often do not do a great job of removing the ear wax, and instead it pushes it deeper into the ear canal which is right in front of the ear drum. What this does is increases the risk of an ear infection, especially when it comes to a child. Additionally, cotton buds, handkerchiefs, fingers, or the corner of a towel can all increase the production of ear wax in the ear canal. Professionals have noted that it is best to clean your ears carefully with water when you are in the shower as the safest method.

Volume controls for home electronics: It is advised that when the TV, radio or stereo is on, that a person keeps the volume frequency down as low as possible. When headphones are being worn, it is important to take caution and provide special care to your ears with a lower volume as well.  Additionally, sound systems in cars are mainly played far too loud as they are competing with engine and traffic noise. While trying to compete, this can dangerously increase the volume of noise to which you are exposing to your delicate ears. 

A sound creates a differential air pressure that travels down from the ear canal where it attacks your ear drum. From your eardrum, the pressure vibrates the membrane which then vibrates the three tiny bones called the ossicles. The bones and membrane act to amplify the frequency signal as it begins to pass through the cochlea. When the vibrations pass through the cochlea, about 20,000 different receptors begin to react to the vibrations and send a signal to the brain which a person interprets as noise. Sound waves are a measurement on a logarithmic scale with units also known as decibels (dB). For more context, 50 dB frequency is 10 times louder than 40 dB frequency, and 60 dB frequency is 100 times louder. Noises over 140 dB frequency can cause permanent damage to your hearing immediately. Most loss of hearing in people is mainly caused by noises over 85 dB frequency with much longer exposure times.

Hearing loss is a decrease in a person’s ability to hear and understand speech around them. Hearing loss often occurs when any part of the nerves or ear carry information on sounds to the brain which do not work in the usual way. In some cases, hearing loss can be temporary, however, it can become permanent when parts of the ear have been beyond damaged. Any part of damage to the ear can lead to hearing loss in people. Even a one-time exposure to extreme loud sounds can cause hearing loss that is why it is vital to protect our hearing at all costs. When it comes to hearing loss, there are many different causes and it is very important to take care of your hearing and take the correct steps when it comes to protecting our ears as they allow us to hear and communicate with others.