We all rely on our hearing for, well, almost everything in life – the ability to have conversations, listen to music we enjoy, and just go about our usual routines. However, many people are surprised to learn that hearing loss is a surprisingly common health issue for people of all ages – so below, we’ve sought to look further into the matter, and answer the questions people have about this challenging issue.
Isn’t hearing loss most common in older people?
Yes, hearing loss is certainly more common in those over the age of 60, but it’s important to note that hearing loss can occur at any age.
Why do people experience hearing loss?
There are two primary reasons you may experience hearing loss:
- Acute hearing loss, which is usually related to a specific illness or incident – for example, many people who experience an ear infection will also develop hearing loss, while injuries to the ear can also reduce hearing capabilities.
- Chronic hearing loss is often unrelated to a specific health condition and occurs due to damage to part of the ear, such as the hair cells on the cochlea. This kind of hearing loss is more likely to happen due to age, but can be caused by other factors – for example, people who work in noisy environments may develop chronic hearing loss at a young age, while those who regularly attend loud concerts or listen to music at high volumes may also be vulnerable.
Can hearing loss be cured?
The answer to this question depends on the type of hearing loss that you are experiencing.
If you develop acute hearing loss due to an infection or injury to the ear, then in most cases, treating the underlying condition will restore your normal hearing function.
For chronic hearing loss that occurs due to damage in the ear, there is, unfortunately, no “cure”. However, if you are diagnosed with this kind of hearing loss, it’s well worth taking the time to learn more about the benefits of hearing aids; while this kind of hearing loss can’t be “cured”, hearing aids can certainly help to manage the condition effectively.
If I experience hearing loss, what should I do?
Whether you suspect your hearing loss is short-term and acute, or a longer-term problem, visiting your general practitioner is likely to be the best course of action. Your doctor will be able to examine your ears to note if any infections or injuries are present, or refer you to an audiologist for further testing.
Can hearing loss be prevented?
Unfortunately, neither acute or chronic hearing loss can be prevented as such – but there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk factors:
- Keep your ears clean and free of foreign objects (especially avoiding the use of Q-tips)
- If you work in a noisy environment, ask your employer to supply ear defenders
- When attending loud events – such as gigs and concerts – protect your ears by standing as far away from the speakers as possible, and use earplugs if necessary
Hopefully, the above has helped to answer any questions you may have had about hearing loss, how the condition can be managed, and the steps you can take to best protect the health of your hearing for the future.
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