There are almost as many causes for hearing loss as there are people who suffer from the condition. Loss of hearing can result from just about any situation, including:
- Birth defects
Around 3 of every 1,000 babies born have some type of hearing loss. This is the most common birth defect that exists. Additionally, there are about 57 million people in the U.S. suffering from some type of hearing loss currently. For most, there is no option for full restoration, so hearing aids and other devices may need to be used.
How Hearing Works
When sound waves are transmitted to the ear, they are picked up by the outer ear. Then, the waves are sent through the ear canal into the middle ear. This is where they hit the ear drum and cause three tiny bones to move. These bones are known as the hammer, anvil, and stirrup, and help the sound move further along into the ear. The vibrations eventually reach the cochlea, which is full of tiny hairs. When those move, they create sound information that is sent to the hearing nerves, which transmits sound to the brain and results in hearing.
Types of Hearing Loss
Loss of hearing can happen for the reasons listed above, but there are also three different types of hearing loss that may occur:
Sensorineural: This hearing loss results from damage to the nerves of the ear that help with hearing. It can be caused by congenital defects, injuries, age, or illness. Sometimes, there are reparative solutions, but this is rarely the case.
Conductive: Hearing loss that is conductive affects the physical outer ear and ear canal. Damage can occur from injury, illness, birth defects, and age, just as the former type of hearing loss, but there are many more opportunities for repair with this type of loss.
Mixed: Hearing loss that combines both conductive and sensorineural damage is known as mixed hearing loss, and often is only treatable with hearing aids to improve the quality and clarity of sound.
Hearing Loss Can Affect Everyone
No one should assume that they are immune to loss of hearing. This condition affects millions of people in the U.S. of all ages, and no one is truly safe. You should always take good care of your ears and keep yourself healthy to avoid the risks of losing your hearing.