By, Laura Schroeder, Au.D., Audiology Consultants
According to the National Institute on Deafness, roughly one in eight people over the age of 12 have hearing loss in both ears. Hearing loss becomes more common as we age: hearing loss has a significant impact on 8.5 percent of people who are 55 to 64 years old, almost 25 percent of people who are 65 to 74 years old, and half of people who are 75+ years old!
What is causing all this hearing loss? It can be one thing or a combination of many. Sometimes we know what caused a person’s hearing loss, but many times, we can only suspect the cause. Exposure to loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Damage in the inner ear that is caused by loud noise can add up over the course of a lifetime. Lawn mowers, wood working equipment, gunfire, and loud music can all contribute to the damage in your ears that leads to hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss can often be prevented. Even if you already have hearing loss, you should still wear hearing protection when it is appropriate.
Illness, disease, and other health conditions can cause hearing loss. Having diabetes or high blood pressure increases your risk of hearing loss. Stroke, ear infection, head trauma, or even auto-immune disorders can cause hearing loss. Sometimes medication can affect your hearing, such as some antibiotics and cancer treatments. If you have concerns about the medications you take, discuss these with your physician.
Some hearing losses are genetic. These types of hearing loss can be present at birth or start impacting hearing later in life. Sometimes genetic hearing loss occurs slowly over decades.
No matter what caused your hearing loss, you deserve to hear better. Contact your friendly local audiologist to talk about your hearing loss, what may have caused it, and the best way to manage it.
Now is a great time to have your hearing checked! Audiology Consultants’ offices are located at 2215 East 52nd St., #2, Davenport, IL: 563-355-7712; 600 Valley View Dr., Moline, IL: 309-517-3889; Unity Point Clinic, 3426 North Port Dr., #500, Muscatine, IL: 563-264-9406; or Hammond Henry Hospital, 600 College Ave., Geneseo, IL: 309-944-9181.