What you need to know about hearing loss

Did you know what about 20% of adults in the US report some kind of hearing loss? As you age, your risk of hearing loss becomes greater…about one in three people over the age of 65 have hearing loss.

Here are some common causes of hearing loss:

  • Age

Aging is the most common cause of hearing loss. There is no definitive answer as to why our hearing gets worse as we age, but researchers believe that it is linked to a lifetime exposure to noise and other factors that slowly wear down the ears.

  • Noise

Noise wears down hearing if it is loud and continuous. Some workplaces expose people to dangerous levels of noise. For example, according to WedMD, 44% of carpenters reported some kind of hearing loss.

  • Medications

Some medications (over 200 of them!) can impair hearing as a side affect.

  • Illnesses

Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes all interfere with blood supply going to the ears. There are also illnesses that affect the ear itself: Otosclerosis, which is a bone disease of the inner ear, or Ménière’s disease, which also affects the inner ear.

  • Trauma

Any kind of accident involving skull fractures or punctured eardrums will put your ears at risk.

  • Infection

Certain infections can block ear canals and cause hearing loss.

So what can you do to protect your ears?

The first thing you should do is wear earplugs if you are going to be exposed to loud noises, especially noises that are as loud or louder than traffic. If your workplace is noisy, speak with your boss about ear safety. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are steps that can be taken to protect workers’ hearing. And, or course, make sure to get your ears checked by your doctor!

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