If you are concerned about developing hearing loss, you may be curious as to the risk factors involved.
What are risk factors?
A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of developing a condition, problem or disease.
Even if you don’t have any of the risk factors here, it’s still possible to have hearing loss in the future, but the more of these risk factors you have the better your chances of getting it. And if you can decrease the risk factors, you can also decrease the likelihood you will suffer from hearing loss.
Risk Factors of Hearing Loss
As we age, just living our life results in some wear-and-tear on our bodies as a whole, and our ears are no exception. Age-related hearing loss is often hereditary and develops slowly. This type of hearing loss is called presbycusis.
Low birth weight and premature birth are both risk factors for the development of hearing loss. Other birth complications such as jaundice and asphyxia as well as reduced growth risk can also increase the risk of hearing loss later on.
Genetic disorders such as Usher Syndrome and Otosclerosis have also been found to increase the risk for hearing loss. Additionally, conditions that affect the shape or structure of the head and face are also risk factors.
The most common risk factor for hearing loss is exposure to loud noise, whether it is very loud noise in a short burst or a longer, repeated exposure over time, like in a loud factory setting or listening to loud music. To protect yourself from noise-related hearing loss, always carry protection such as earplugs to mitigate the damage. If the exposure is unavoidable and repeated, it may be worth investing in custom ear plugs for better protection.
Ototoxic Chemicals and Medications
Certain medications, including some antibiotics, chemotherapies and NSAID drugs can temporarily or permanently damage hearing. High doses of aspirin, for example, cause temporary hearing loss or ringing in the ear for some people. When these medications are no longer taken these effects usually subside. Exposure to chemicals in some factory or agricultural settings can also cause ototoxicity, or hearing damage. Cigarettes also contain ototoxic chemicals that can damage hearing.
Diseases and Conditions
Certain health problems can lead to hearing loss. Meniere’s disease affects inner ear fluid and can lead to hearing loss. Other conditions such as tumors, diabetes, vascular diseases and autoimmune disorders can also affect hearing health. Trauma and injury to the head can also result in hearing loss.
Chemotherapy and antibiotic medications were mentioned above as ototoxic, but radiation therapy is another treatment that can diminish hearing health, especially when the radiation is concentrated in the area of the ears.
Having been exposed to any of these factors can increase your likelihood for hearing loss, but it does not guarantee it. This is also not a comprehensive list, but if you make an effort to reduce the known risk factors of hearing loss, you will be much less likely to develop hearing damage.
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.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646