Causes of Hearing Loss

Between age, noise damage, and other factors, there are many ways you can experience hearing loss.

What Causes Hearing Loss

If you have hearing loss, you might feel like you’re suffering in silence – but you are not alone. In fact, the latest statistics available show that over 10% of people in the United States report difficulty hearing. So at this very moment, more than 32 million Americans struggle to hear properly. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that number promises to increase dramatically.

  • 3 in 10 people over the age of 60 suffer from hearing loss.
  • 1 in 6 Baby Boomers (or 14.6%) have a hearing problem.
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (or 7.4%) already suffer from hearing loss.
  • At least 1.4 million children (age 18 or younger) have hearing problems.
  • It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Can Happen At Any Age

One of the most common myths surrounding hearing loss is that only elderly people deal with it. Impaired hearing is not strictly an ailment of old age. In fact, it can occur at any time and affects people of all ages, even children. The majority of people with impaired hearing (65%) are younger than age 65. Even a mild or moderate case of hearing loss can hinder a child’s ability to learn, develop speech, and build important interpersonal skills that can foster self-esteem and help a child succeed in school and in life. So, if you notice that your child is struggling to hear properly, contact Rocky Mountain Audiology!

Causes Of Hearing Loss

There are many factors that can cause hearing loss, including:

  • Noise Damage - Hearing loss can result from a single incident or prolonged exposure to military and sport fire arms, industrial and home machinery, or music.
  • Disease / Trauma - Meniere’s Disease, otosclerosis, outer ear or ear drum injuries, tumors, birth injury, skull fractures, viral infections.
  • Age - Known as Presbycusis or nerve damage. It occurs very gradually so sometimes it is unnoticeable and it usually occurs in the higher frequency range.
  • Medication - Large doses of aspirin, some forms of antibiotics, diuretics, and chemotherapy can cause hearing loss.
  • Earwax - A build up of earwax in your ear canal can cause hearing loss until it is removed.

Types of Hearing Loss

Several different types of hearing loss exist, and not all of them can be improved with digital hearing aids or other listening devices. Once we determine which type of hearing loss you suffer from, Dr. Stakiw can recommend a treatment. There are four types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive: Conductive hearing loss occurs when a problem prevents the conduction of sound waves somewhere in the middle ear, eardrum, or outer ear. It can be caused by something as simple as ear wax buildup.
  • Sensorineural: Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when (1) the tiny hairs in the cochlea become damaged or go missing or (2) the neural pathways that lead from the inner ear to the brain become damaged.
  • Mixed: Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Central: Central hearing loss is caused by problems in the central nervous system. For example, strokes and central nerve diseases can induce this rare form of hearing loss.

High Risk Factors to Hearing Loss

  • Heart Disease
  • Thyroid Problems
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • High Cholesterol
  • Exposure to Loud Noises
  • Diabetes
  • Ototoxic & Herbal Medication
  • Family History
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

Since hearing loss often occurs gradually, many people adapt to it and fail to realize how significantly their hearing has changed over time. In fact, one may not even notice their hearing loss for months, or even years, after it begins. In addition, some people who are aware that their hearing has deteriorated are reluctant to seek help. They may feel embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or they may believe that they can "get by" without a hearing aid or another form of treatment. Throughout many studies, it's been found that hearing loss can lead to all of the following

  • Irritability, negativism, and anger
  • Fatigue
  • Tension and stress
  • Depression
  • Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
  • Social rejection and loneliness
  • Reduced alertness
  • Impaired memory
  • Reduced ability to learn new skills
  • Bad job performance
  • Diminished psychological health
  • Diminished overall health

To get treated for your hearing loss, please call Rocky Mountain Audiology at one of our two convenient Colorado locations: Edwards, Colorado at (970) 926-6660 or our Glenwood Springs location at (970) 945-7575. You may also Schedule an Appointment to meet with one of our hearing loss specialists.