The Common Causes of Hearing Loss and How You Can Avoid Them

The ability to hear is something many people take for granted. It concerns all of us, but the reasons for hearing loss often aren't discussed. While hearing loss occurs naturally with age, and about 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 have experienced it to some degree, there are steps we can take to preserve it.


The Science of Hearing: What Causes Hearing Loss?

When a sound travels into your ear canal, its vibrations are converted into nerve signals that are read by your brain, letting you know what you’re hearing. Thousands of small hairs are attached to your nerve cells, and they effectively sort out the differences between sounds. However, when these hairs become damaged, they’re no longer capable of responding like they once were.

Common hearing loss causes include:

  • Aging.
  • Loud, explosive noises, such as gunshots and fireworks.
  • Concerts.
  • Listening to headphones at too high volume.
  • External injuries that cause damage to the ear canal.
  • Noisy industrial work.
  • Dirty or blocked ears.
  • Complications from ear infections.


Preserving Your Ability to Hear:

Three Helpful Tips


1. Avoid Loud Noise

The most obvious threat to the health of your ears is loud noise. Anything from regularly shooting guns for leisure to working in a loud industrial factory on a daily basis can chip away at your precious ability to hear.

Loud concerts are another danger. Live music is a wonderful thing to experience, but if you stand too close to the speakers, you could do permanent damage. The same goes for blasting music in your headphones. If you’re listening in a loud environment, such as a city street, you might feel tempted to turn up the volume. This can be extremely damaging, so it’s best to wait until you’re in a calmer environment to listen to your music. Noise-cancelling headphones are another option. They block outside noise, allowing you to keep your music at a lower volume.

When taking part in any other loud activity, be sure to wear ear plugs. Don’t assume that you’ll be fine around these hearing loss causes just because you’re young. Hearing damage accumulates over time.



2. Be Careful of Ear Infections

An ear infection will cause the middle of your ear to fill with fluid, which can sometimes cause a temporary loss of hearing. If this happens, don’t panic. It usually goes away once the infection is cleared. However, if the infection doesn’t clear on its own, and it grows more severe, it can cause damage to the inner ear that might lead to a permanent loss of hearing. If you suspect an infection, it’s wise to visit the audiologist immediately.


3. Avoid Damage to Your Eardrum

A ruptured ear drum is one of the common reasons for hearing loss. It usually happens as a result of inserting something into the ear canal. This is why cleaning your ears with cotton-tip cleaners is not recommended. If you suspect a blockage or buildup of impurities in your ear canal, visit a doctor for a quick cleaning.


Once your hearing is gone, it can’t be restored. Your ears and hearing something to take very seriously, so if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to talk to your doctor about what causes hearing loss and what you can do to avoid it.