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Understanding the Different Types of Hearing Loss

You may be suffering some type of hearing loss if you find yourself with one or more of the following symptoms of hearing impairment:

  • Asking others to repeat what they just said
  • Difficulty hearing a normal conversation in a loud room
  • Increasing the volume control on your television, computer, or radio/stereo system
  • Difficulty hearing someone talking to you from behind
  • Difficulty hearing people on the telephone

Most people are surprised at the number and variety of causes of hearing loss.

Causes of Hearing Loss

  • Hereditary – Hearing loss can simply be in our genes.
  • Illness & Disease – Including Meniere’s disease, otosclerosis and auto-immune inner ear disease, among others.
  • Ototoxic Medications – Medications that can damage the cochlea and hence cause hearing impairment would include certain types of antibiotics (such as aminoglycosides), aspirin (taken in very high doses and/or in large amounts), diuretics (often prescribed to treat high blood pressure), and drugs used in chemotherapy
  • Loud Noise – Extended and/or repeated exposure to high sound levels can damage your hearing
  • Tumors – One example is an acoustic neuroma, which can be treated medically
  • Head Injuries – Blows to the head can injure the brain or ear structures and cause hearing loss
  • Age – For many people, hearing degenerates as they age

Obviously we can’t avoid all the causes of hearing loss, but knowing the cause can help determine the type of hearing loss and, subsequently the best treatment.

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