The hearing aids market is set to reach a value of over $11 billion by 2028. Moreover, signs point to a rapid rise in the number of users within the next decade. There’s some concern regarding the causes and what can be done to reduce or prevent them.
What are the causes of hearing loss? Well, it’s a mix of external and internal factors. And, while age is one variable that’s impossible to change, noise-induced damage can not only be prevented but sometimes treated, as well.
For a full understanding of how all this works, it’s important to take a look at the different types of hearing loss, the factors that can cause audio damage, and the anatomy affected. Keep reading for an overview of hearing loss.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is considered any kind of damage or alteration to three sections inside the ear. The anatomy is somewhat complex, but the most important parts are the eardrum, ear canal, cochlea, and stereocilia. The latter plays the most vital role, as they’re responsible for transmitting inputs to the brain.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
Age-related hearing loss is virtually unavoidable. Over the years, the stereocilia slowly deteriorate. Many compare this to the progressive decay of DNA, specifically the telomeres, resulting in changes all over the body.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is a result of any alterations, damage, or obstructions in the ear canal that prevent sound from physically reaching the inner ear, and not impairment of the inner ear itself.
Common causes of conductive hearing loss include:
- Objects stuck in the ear canal
- Fluid accumulation in the ear
- Buildup of earwax
- Perforated eardrum
- Bone damage in the ear
- Changes in pressure
Noise-Related Hearing Loss
Noise-related hearing loss is a result of any damage or alterations to the stereocilia due to sound. This includes abrupt and loud noises, consistent noise over extended periods of time, or a combination of both.
You’ll often find noise-related hearing loss in individuals that work in a noisy environment for long hours, use headphones for extended durations, or endure the sound of a sudden explosion.
Prevention and Treatment
Hearing loss due to age is, of course, practically unavoidable and simultaneously the easiest to diagnose. Conductive and noise-related hearing loss are a different story. For a proper diagnosis, you’ll need an ear, nose, and throat doctor. They’ll use methods like tympanometry, audiometric tests, and CT scans to pinpoint the problem or problems.
Luckily, whether it’s due to age, blockage, or damage to the stereocilia, there are solutions and treatments that can help. You can find hearing aids here, for example, that can adjust to your specific situation for optimal results.
Listening For Advancements
Every day new technologies appear with the potential to improve prevention and treatment for the different types of hearing loss. Currently, the most common and effective solution is the implementation of hearing aids. Don’t be surprised, though, to see the integration of artificial intelligence and software in the near future lead to even better options.
Hopefully, you learned more than enough to understand some of the causes and types of hearing loss. If you did, make sure to take a peek at some of the other articles on the site for further information.