One might think that losing the ability to hear well is an inevitable part of growing older, but that’s only one of many reasons people suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders. While we cannot stop the aging process, there are other factors that affect hearing and balance symptoms that are important to know about and avoid if possible.
Hearing loss related to medication may be permanent or temporary. Some cancer treatments and antibiotics are known to cause permanent damage to hearing and inner ear balance sensors. Your doctor will often order testing to monitor your hearing while taking these drugs. If you are taking prescription medication and notice a change in hearing or tinnitus, inform your physician immediately. Other, over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and NSAIDS are known to affect hearing or create tinnitus, but the problem may go away when the course of the medication is finished.
Ongoing Workplace Noise
Machine shops, airports, and other workplaces with loud machinery are common environments that may create noise-induced hearing loss. Being exposed to excessive sound pressure noises on a daily basis can permanently damage inner ear sensory structures and connecting nerve pathways creating hearing loss and a loss of the ability to easily understand speech. It’s important to avoid noisy areas when possible, and to wear proper hearing protection while working these jobs. Wear well fitted earplugs plus over-the-ear protection and take quiet breaks as often as possible.
Loud, Explosive Noises
One avoidable cause of hearing loss is explosive noises caused by leisure time activities. Shotguns or other firearms, fireworks, firecrackers, and other types of explosions cause very powerful sound pressure waves that can result in permanent damage to hearing by rupturing eardrums and damaging inner ear structures and nerve pathways. The farther away we are from the source of loud sounds, the better. If it is necessary to be nearby to loud impact or explosive sounds, wear protective gear.
Loud Concerts and Other Music
Rock and roll fans have known about the effects of loud music on hearing for decades. The loud sound levels blasted out from a concert speaker can cause tinnitus, an annoying ringing in the ear that can last for days, weeks, or a lifetime, and permanent hearing loss.
If you listen to your own personal music on headphones or earbuds, a simple check for excessive loudness is to make sure others around you cannot hear the music. If others can hear your music, it is likely too loud for your ears. Focusing loud music directly into your ears can create noise-induced hearing loss.
Some diseases have hearing loss, dizziness and or tinnitus as an additional symptom. Meningitis caused by bacteria may destroy the inner ear structures causing total deafness. High fevers, especially in children can cause hearing loss. Meniere’s disease causes symptoms of episodic hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo. A sudden hearing loss is treated as a medical emergency by ear specialists because rapid diagnosis and treatment may prevent permanent hearing loss.
Contact Us Today
Have you been having problems with your hearing? No matter what the cause, we can help you to live your life more easily by allowing you to protect your hearing and if necessary, to hear better once again. Find a location near you to make an appointment with us.