Hearing loss is a big problem in the United States, especially among older adults. Here at Johnson Audiology, we help many older adults who have a hearing loss. But what is the cause of this high level of hearing loss, and what can be done about it?
Age-related hearing loss
Unfortunately, simple old age is one of the main causes of hearing loss. Your body, including your ears, has been working hard all your life, and that can take a toll. As you age, changes can occur in your inner ear, including loss of the tiny hair cells that react to sound waves and send messages to your brain, which interprets them as sounds. With fewer of those hair cells, you pick up on fewer sounds.
Other health problems can lead to hearing loss
Sometimes, hearing loss in older adults can arise from other health problems. Diabetes and high blood pressure can contribute to hearing loss, and certain medications, such as certain chemotherapy drugs, can be toxic to the sensory cells in your ears.
Less complex causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss can also be caused by something as simple as a buildup of wax in the ears. An ear infection can cause a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, which can affect your hearing. Both of these are easily treated, and your hearing should recover in a short time.
Noise-induced hearing loss
Another very common cause of hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. This could be a short, sharp, extremely loud noise such as an explosion or gunshot, or prolonged exposure to loud machinery or music. Any noise above 85 decibels has the potential to cause permanent damage to your hearing, so having the volume on a music player turned all the way up or using loud equipment, such as a lawnmower, without ear defenders, is potentially dangerous. The longer you are exposed to loud noises, the more damage is likely to be done.
Treatments for hearing loss
Some types of hearing loss, especially those caused by an obstruction, can be treated medically and will get better. However, for many types of hearing loss, the main treatment is a hearing aid. The idea of wearing a hearing aid is daunting to many people, but they have advanced a lot in recent years and are very discreet now, with some being practically invisible. Hearing aids these days can even connect with digital devices to stream music direct to your ears.
Book a hearing test
If you are finding it hard to hear and suspect you may have a hearing loss, the best thing to do is make an appointment with an Audiologist. Here at Johnson Audiology, our award-winning Audiologists are happy to answer any questions you may have and will give your ears a thorough examination. Contact us to set up an appointment at a hearing center in Tennessee. We have locations across the state, as well as in Cartersville, Georgia.
Dr. Megan Johnson is the owner and licensed audiologist at Johnson Audiology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Western Carolina University, a master’s degree in audiology from the University of Tennessee, and her doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida.