The most common causes of hearing damage are well known: long-term exposure to noise higher than 80 decibels, like repeated exposure to factory machinery, loud music or lawn equipment, or one-time exposure to very loud noise such as an explosion or gunshot near your ear.
Other lesser-known sources of hearing loss can also have an effect. If you have not had exposure to loud noise but you are experiencing hearing loss, you could have been exposed to one of these less common causes.
Otitis Media, or an ear infection, can result from the common cold or a sinus infection. Ear infections can hinder hearing either temporarily, or when severe, permanently. As many as seventy-five percent of children have had an ear infection at least once by the age of three, but otitis media can affect people of any age.
Diplacusis is also known as “double hearing.” Similar to “double vision,” it can cause a change in pitch perception, which can make one sound heard as two sounds. This may happen when hearing loss is present in only one ear, and normal hearing in the other ear. Sufferers of conductive hearing loss can sometimes experience temporary diplacusis. It is a common ailment of musicians.
Usher syndrome may be responsible for up to 50% of blindness and deafness in adults and for three to six percent of all childhood deafness. A genetic condition, the symptoms of Usher syndrome include hearing damage or deafness, balance difficulty, and a vision disorder called retinitis pigmetosa. Children with type 1 Usher syndrome are born deaf, children with type 2 are born with some hearing loss and those with type 3 are born with normal hearing but can experience progressive vision and hearing damage that can affect them as teenagers or young adults.
Meniere’s Disease, a chronic inner ear condition which affects balance and hearing is another hereditary disease that can cause imbalance. If you seem to have a permanent vertigo, it’s possible you are suffering from Meniere’s Disease. An imbalance of inner ear fluid is thought to be the culprit and the cause, and can be triggered by viral infections, head trauma, allergies, migraines, or an inability of the ear to drain the right way.
Acoustic Neuroma affects about two in every 100,000 people. Acoustic Neuroma is a rare, benign and slow-growing brain tumor that can develop in the cranial nerve which connects the ears to the brain. Symptoms can include tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss in one ear, vertigo or balance issues.
Regardless of the origin, hearing loss is usually progressive and irreversible, so it is important to visit your audiologist immediately to find out what is going on and to take action. Your audiologist may be able to offer a solution that will slow or halt the progression of hearing loss.
The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.