Hearing loss can cause profound difficulties. In children, hearing loss or being unable to hear from birth can severely impact speech and language development. In older people, it can cause social isolation and lead to depression. Often, the underlying cause can be treated but it’s worth having your hearing tested to determine the nature of the problem.
If you are struggling to hear conversations or the TV, you may have problems with your hearing. Here are four common causes of hearing loss in adults.
Ear Wax Blockage
The body produces ear wax as a self-cleaning mechanism. Under normal circumstances, ear wax passes through the ear canal and falls out without any help from us. However, ear wax sometimes builds up and causes a blockage. When this happens, it can lead to hearing loss.
Swimmers often suffer from inflammation in their external ear canal, which can cause an ear wax blockage. People with very narrow ear canals may also have problems.
GPs used to remove ear wax, but these days, they are less inclined to offer the service and the advice is usually to add olive or almond oil to the ear to soften the wax so it comes out on its own. Try this (unless you have a perforated eardrum) but if you still have a problem after two weeks, make an appointment at a hearing clinic.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
Hearing loss, or presbycusis, is a natural consequence of aging. You may start to have problems hearing the television or radio, or struggle to follow conversations in noisy environments. It is common in older adults and is caused by age-related degeneration of the inner ear. One in three older adults experience problems with their hearing and may need hearing aids.
If a hearing test confirms you have age-related hearing loss, speak to a hearing aid specialist at Southport clinic to find out what your options are. You can find one here.
Damage Caused by Loud Noises
Exposure to loud noises can lead to hearing loss. This is why we struggle to hear anything after attending a noisy concert. People that work in jobs where they have to listen to loud noise all day are at risk of permanent hearing damage. When hearing loss is noise-induced, it will happen gradually and be painless. If the noise is sudden and extreme, like an explosion, hearing loss will be instant.
Always wear ear protection if you are exposed to loud noise during your job.
Ménière’s disease affects the inner ear. Hearing loss associated with this disorder may come and go, but in time, it can become permanent. Symptoms of a Ménière’s disease episode are dizziness, nausea, buzzing or ringing noises, and a loss of hearing. Episodes usually pass very quickly and only affect one ear. There isn’t a cure for Ménière’s disease, but symptoms can be controlled with various medications.
Ear infections are another potential cause of hearing loss in adults. If you have ear discharge or pain, and it feels like your ear is blocked, speak with your GP, as you may need antibiotics.