Some people will go their whole lives without any hearing difficulties, while others may suffer from a hearing impairment from childhood. There are many different causes of hearing loss, so people worldwide may suffer from temporary or permanent hearing conditions, each one suffering unique symptoms.
The most common causes of hearing loss include:
- Ear infections. Swelling in the ears and a buildup of fluid in the ear canal may prevent sounds from traveling through to the brain, resulting in a loss of hearing. Children are most at risk of this temporary hearing loss, as they often suffer from ear infections as they grow.
- Medical conditions. Trauma to the head and neck can cause problems hearing or understanding sound, and an injury to the eardrum can prevent sound transmission to the auditory nerve. Prescription drugs, chronic illnesses, and diseases can also cause hearing loss.
- Obstructions. Many children and adults suffer a temporary loss of hearing due to blockages in the ear canal, such as earwax buildup, benign tumors, or foreign objects. Blockages can also cause symptoms of tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Loud noises. The use of personal audio devices is making exposure to damaging noise levels a fast-growing cause of sudden onset hearing loss, affecting patients at younger and younger ages.
- Genetics. Not only are people who have a family history of hearing loss likelier to lose this sense as they age, hereditary factors can also influence the development of the ear structures in children. These inherited traits can cause hearing disorders from birth or cause impairment over time.
- Aging. The most common cause of hearing loss by far is degeneration of the structures in the ear, a natural effect of the aging process. This type of hearing loss can typically be corrected with well-fitted hearing aids.
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