We know a lot about how hearing loss occurs. By far the most common cause is the natural aging process. Just like our hair thins and gets gray, and our eyes lose fine focus, hair cells in the inner ear weaken, break and grow unresponsive with age.

The second leading cause of hearing loss is exposure to noise. Loud machinery at home or where you work can damage your ears - even short bursts of sound over 90 decibels can have an impact. Prolonged noise is worse. Our lives are filled with noise we can’t control: in military or factory environments, and from airplanes, subway trains, and traffic sounds. There’s also plenty of noise we can control, but choose not to…rock concerts, loud cheering at sporting events, and all those power tools around the house.

All of these forms of hearing loss are examples of sensorineural loss. Heredity can also play a role in developing this kind of hearing loss. Hearing losses can also be caused by illness such as severe ear infection, disease, tumors or injury - for example, a blow to the head. Another cause, easily fixed, is a build-up of earwax in the ear canal. Some of these problems will ease on their own, while others may respond to medicines or surgery. These are examples of conductive hearing loss.

When it comes to treating hearing loss, you can often improve your ability to hear and communicate with hearing instruments. The first step is getting screened by a hearing professional.


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