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Causes of Hearing Loss

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Posted by on Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 0:13
This news item was posted in C, Ear, H category and has 3 Comments so far.

Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults

Hearing loss in adults has many causes, such as disease or infection, ototoxic (ear-damaging) drugs, exposure to noise, tumors, trauma, and the aging process. This loss may or may not be accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Tinnitus can occur by itself without any hearing loss.

Causes of Hearing Loss
Causes of Hearing Loss

Some causes of hearing loss in adults are described below:

Otosclerosis is a disease involving the middle ear. It specifically affects the movement of one of the three tiny bones in the middle ear. Otosclerosis can cause a conductive type of hearing loss. This condition is often surgically treatable.

Ménière’s disease affects the inner ear. It is characterized by deafness, dizziness (vertigo), and ringing in the ear (tinnitus). Hearing loss caused by Ménière’s disease sometimes will respond to certain medications.

Medications used to manage some diseases are damaging to the auditory system and cause hearing loss. When this is the case, these drugs are called ototoxic.

Some drugs known to be ototoxic are:

* Aminoglycoside antibiotics (such as streptomycin, neomycin, or kanamycin)
* Salicylates in large quantities (aspirin)
* Loop diuretics (lasix or ethacrynic acid)
* Drugs used in chemotherapy regimens (cisplatin, carboplatin, or nitrogen mustard)

Harmful levels of noise can produce noise-induced hearing loss. Prolonged noise exposure damages the hair cells in the cochlea and results in permanent hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss usually develops gradually and painlessly. Hearing loss can also occur as a result of an acoustic trauma due to a single exposure or few exposures to very loud sound.

Acoustic neuroma is an example of a tumor that causes hearing loss. Acoustic neuromas arise in the eighth cranial nerve, also known as the acoustic (hearing) nerve. One of the first symptoms is reduction of hearing in one ear accompanied by a feeling of fullness. Treatment for acoustic neuroma is medical.

Physical trauma can also result in hearing loss. Examples include skull fractures of the temporal bone—the area of the skull just behind the ear, puncture of the eardrum by foreign objects, and sudden changes in air pressure.

Presbycusis refers to a loss of hearing that is the result of the natural aging process. The condition involves degeneration of the inner ear (cochlea) over time. Presbycusis can also involve other parts of the auditory system. This is progressive in nature, with loss of hearing for the high pitch sounds affected first. For example, high pitched sounds for speech are /s/, /f/, /th/, and /k/—the unvoiced consonants. The process begins after age 20. However, it is typically at ages 55 to 65 that the high frequencies in the speech range begin to be affected. The speech range of pitches (frequencies) is from 250Hertz (Hz) through 8,000 Hz.

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3 Responses to “Causes of Hearing Loss”

  1. [...] Hearing loss may be caused due to several causes and depending upon the causes, the disorder may be mild or severe. This hearing impairment can also occur at birth known as congenital hearing loss. Hearing loss is regarded as a long-term health problem among people of all ages. People aged 65 years and more than that are more vulnerable to this sudden or gradual decrease of hearing ability. The ill effects of hearing loss is less of social interaction, resulting in loneliness, depression and at some point, loss of independence. However, all these can be countered with hearing loss treatment, depending on the type of hearing loss. [...]

  2. [...] news item was posted in Ear, H, Hearing category and has 0 Comments so far . Advertisement Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop communication, language, and social skills.  The earlier [...]

  3. [...] news item was posted in E, Ear category and has 0 Comments so far . Advertisement Introduction The ears are paired sensory organs comprising the auditory system, involved in the detection of sound, and [...]

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