January 8th, 2014 | General | by Andreas Seelisch

What are the different causes of hearing loss?

Hearing loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. This typically occurs when you reach the age of 65, although it is known to happen much sooner. Age-related hearing loss is known as presbycusis. It occurs when the tiny hair cells within your ear become damaged or disappear. Although this erosion is simply a natural occurrence, there are certain factors that can trigger the early onset of hearing loss.

Read on to see if the factors below affect you and what you can do to prevent further damage to your ears.

Constant exposure to loud noises

Doctors say that those working in certain professions are more susceptible to early hearing loss than others. This includes jobs within industries like construction, aviation and audio engineering. If you work in an environment that is prone to loud noises, be sure to protect your ears while on the job. Ask your employer about the resources available to you, such as a pair of high-quality headphones to block out industrial noise.

Smoking

Researchers have long cited the terrible effects of cigarette addiction like lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. But did you know that smoking can also affect your hearing? A series of studies have suggested that noise-induced hearing loss is exacerbated by smoking. This means that if you work in a noisy environment (such as construction or aviation) and you smoke, your ears may be more sensitive to these occupational sounds than to the ears of non-smokers. Another good reason to kick your smoking habit to the curb!

Impacted ear wax

Growing up, your mother may have told you never to stick anything smaller than an elbow in your ear. And this is certainly good advice to follow!  But over the years, impacted ear wax can significantly damage your hearing. Symptoms of blockage typically include muffled hearing and headaches. If you think you may be suffering from impacted ear wax, don’t try to solve the issue on your own. You could end up damaging your ear canal. Instead, go to your family doctor or seek advice from a professional audiologist to determine the best solution for you.

Excessive headphone use

Today’s electronic listening devices can reach volume levels of up to 120 decibels. That’s how loud things are at a typical rock concert. And we all know how tempting it is to crank up the volume as soon as our favourite song comes on. But did you know that excessive headphone use can damage your hearing? Audiologists recommend using headphones for no more than 45 minutes at a time and only at acceptable volume levels. If you’re prone to blasting the tunes, your eardrums will suffer for it over time.

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