Hearing Loss: Symptoms, Causes, Complications & Treatment

Sonali Kapoor

, Health A2Z

Hearing loss is also known as hearing-impairment. It happens when there is a problem with one or more parts of the ear or ears. It appears gradually and is found common between the age of 65 and 75.


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As we all know, our 5 senses are really important to us, if one of them stops working or not working properly, then it creates tension. So, today we are going to discuss hearing-impairment.


What is a Hearing Loss?

Hearing-impairment is referred to when the ability to hear is reduced. A hearing loss makes it more difficult for you to hear speech and other sounds. The most common cause of hearing impairment is noise aging. It basically affects the age of 50 – 80.


What are the Types of Hearing Loss?


There are three types of hearing-impairment :


1. Conductive (involves outer or middle ear)


2. Sensorineural (involves inner ear)


3. Mixed (combination of the two)


What are the Symptoms of Hearing Loss?


These are the common symptoms of a hearing problem:


1. Muffling of speech and other sounds


2. Difficulty understanding words


3. Trouble hearing consonants


4. Frequently saying others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly


5. Needing to turn up the volume of the TV.


6.Withdrawal from conversations


7. Avoidance of some social settings


What are the Risk Factors of Hearing-Impairment?


There are a few risk factors of hearing-impairment:


1. Aging:


Degeneration of inner ear structures occurs over time.


2. Loud Noise:


Noisy sounds can damage the cells of your inner ear. Damage can appear with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a short blast of noise, such as from a gunshot.


3. Heredity:


Your genetic makeup makes you more susceptible to ear damage from sound or deterioration from aging.


4. Occupational Noises:


Jobs where the noisy sound is a regular part of the working environment, such as farming, construction or factory work, can lead to damage inside your ear.



5. Recreational Noises:


Exposure to explosive sounds, such as from firearms and jet engines, can cause immediate, permanent hearing impairment. Other recreational activities with dangerously high noise levels include snowmobiling, motorcycling, carpentry or listening to loud music.


6. Medications:


Drugs such as the antibiotic gentamicin, sildenafil (Viagra) and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear. Sometimes it effects on your hearing ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or hearing-impairment can occur if you take very high doses of aspirin, other pain relievers, antimalarial drugs or loop diuretics.


7. Illness


Diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea.


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What are the Complications of Hearing-Impairment?


There are some complications of hearing-impairment:


  • Hearing loss is a significant effect on your quality of life. Older adults with hearing-impairment may report feelings of depression. Because hearing-impairment can make conversation difficult, some people experience feelings of isolation. Hearing loss is also associated with cognitive impairment and decline.


  • The mechanism of interaction between hearing loss, cognitive impairment, depression, and isolation is being actively studied. Initial research suggests that treating hearing-impairment can have a positive effect on cognitive performance, especially memory.


What are the Preventions of Hearing-Impairment?


There are 3 preventions of hearing-impairment:


1. Protect Your Ears:


Limiting the duration and intensity of your exposure to noise is the best protection. In the workplace, plastic earplugs or glycerin-filled earmuffs can help protect your ears from damaging noise.


2. Regular Hearing Tests:


If you work in a noisy environment. If you’ve lost some hearing, you can take steps to prevent further loss.


3. Avoid Recreational Risks:


Activities such as riding a snowmobile, hunting, using power tools or listening to rock concerts can damage your hearing over time. Wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks from the noise can protect your ears. Turning down the music volume is helpful too.


How to Treat Hearing Loss?


There are few treatments for hearing-impairment:


1. Removing Wax Blockage:


Earwax blockage is a reversible cause of hearing loss. Your doctor may remove earwax using suction or a small tool with a loop on the end.



2. Surgical Procedures:


Some types of hearing loss can be treated with surgery, including abnormalities of the eardrum or bones of hearing (ossicles). If you’ve had repeated infections with persistent fluid, your doctor may insert small tubes that help your ears drain.


3. Hearing Aids:


If your hearing loss is due to damage to your inner ear, a hearing aid can be helpful. An audiologist can discuss with you the potential benefits of a hearing aid and fit you with a device. Open fit aids are currently the most popular, due to fit and features offered.


4. Cochlear Implants:


If you have more severe hearing loss and gain limited benefit from conventional hearing aids, then a cochlear implant may be an option. Unlike a hearing aid which amplifies sound and directs it into your ear canal, a cochlear implant bypasses damaged or nonworking parts of your inner ear and directly stimulates the hearing nerve.




Hearing loss can happen at any age whether an infant or newborn, an old age person or a middle-aged person. So, if you found any of the symptoms of a hearing problem then you should not ignore it, make sure to take a test by yourself and then you should consult your doctor as soon as possible because hearing plays an important part to your lifestyle.


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