Hearing loss is on the rise for all demographics. The hearing-impaired population in the United States has increased by an astounding 70% over the past decade and now stands at 36-million people. This hearing impairment can be caused by a variety of factors such as exposure to loud noises, head trauma and certain medications that cause hearing problems.

What is Destroying Our Hearing?

There are a variety of factors that can lead to hearing loss, but the most common is exposure to loud noises. Loud sounds over time can cause damage to the inner ear, leading to hearing impairment. This type of hearing loss is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and it is becoming more and more prevalent as our society becomes increasingly industrialized. In fact, an estimated 15% of American adults have some form of NIHL.

Other causes of hearing loss include:

  • Head trauma: A blow to the head can cause damage to the delicate structures in the inner ear that control hearing.
  • Certain medications: Some drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and quinine can cause problems with hearing if taken in large quantities.
  • Age: Aging causes hearing loss as the delicate auditory system can be damaged over time from natural wear and tear, especially if hearing impairment is already present due to genetics or noise exposure.

In addition to hearing loss caused by environmental factors, some health conditions affect a person’s ability to hear adequately, such as:

  • Infections: Ear infections can cause hearing problems. This may occur when bacteria enter the ear canal, leading to inflammation of the eardrum and nearby tissues called otitis media with effusion (OME). OME refers to fluid behind your eardrum without infection, but sometimes this fluid contains an infection. The pressure associated with OME impedes sound waves from entering the ear’s inner parts.
  • Genetics: hearing loss can run in families or be inherited from your mother or father. As you age, this type of hearing impairment becomes progressively worse.
  • Autoimmune diseases: People with autoimmune disorders are more likely to experience hearing problems because their immune systems attack healthy cells instead of diseased ones.

So, What Can We Do to Protect Our Hearing?

The best way to prevent hearing loss is by being proactive and protecting your ears from loud noises. If you know you’re going to be in a noisy environment, like at a rock concert or on a construction site, wear earplugs to help reduce the amount of noise exposure. You can also limit how much time you spend listening to loud music on headphones and take breaks every hour to give your ears a rest.

It is also essential to get your hearing checked regularly, as early detection is critical in preventing further damage from occurring. If you think you may be experiencing hearing problems, don’t hesitate to see an audiologist who can test your hearing and provide proper treatment if necessary.

The Impact of Leaving Hearing Loss Unanswered

It is essential to be aware of the causes and effects so we can take steps to protect our hearing. Hearing loss can significantly impact a person’s life, both physically and emotionally. People with hearing loss may feel isolated from those around them and struggle to communicate effectively, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.

In addition, hearing loss can also affect a person’s job performance or ability to participate in everyday activities. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to seek help from an audiologist as soon as possible. Left untreated, hearing loss can worsen over time and have a negative impact on your quality of life.

Hearing loss is on the rise for all demographics, and we need to be proactive in protecting our hearing. By being aware of the risks and taking simple precautions, we can help reduce the chances of developing hearing loss later in life. There are many reasons why hearing loss affects different demographics differently, but they have one thing in common.

They’re on the rise! Not only that but hearing loss across every demographic has also increased by an alarming number over the past decade. So, whether you’re young or old, male or female, hearing loss is becoming an increasingly common factor in our daily lives.

If you want to learn more about hearing loss contact Hearing & Balance Centers of West Tennessee or contact us at our Jackson office at (731) 256-5973 or our Memphis office at (901) 201-6761.