As we age, we may lose many abilities we take for granted, including the ability to hear. More often than not, hearing impairment is a gradual phenomenon. It is common in old ages, with one in three individuals aged 65 to 74 suffering from it.
Some individuals are more prone to developing the issue. The phenomenon can often be stopped from worsening if proper preventive measures are taken timely. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common factors which put individuals at risk of developing hearing issues so that you can assess if your situation is concerning:
1. Family History
50% to 60% of hearing loss in babies is because of genetic factors. Even if no hearing impairment is detected in childhood, individuals with a family history of the condition are more likely to be genetically predisposed to it. Even age-related cases are genetic 33% to 55% of the time. If someone in your family has suffered hearing loss before, you may be at risk. In such a case, it is prudent to stay conscious about your hearing health and visit a doctor at the first sign of trouble.
2. Health Conditions
A number of diseases exacerbate hearing deterioration. Otosclerosis, Ménière’s disease, autoimmune inner ear diseases, and even a tumor in the case of acoustic neuroma will likely cause hearing loss. Diseases that span beyond ear-related problems, like diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, viral infections like mumps and chickenpox can all contribute to sensorineural hearing loss as well. If you suffer from one of these, stay aware of your hearing capabilities at all times, and if you suffer from hearing loss, get yourself checked for these diseases too. Overlooking symptoms will only worsen your quality of life.
Over 200 medicines are ototoxic: they can damage hearing and balance. These also include some over-the-counter medicines like Aspirin and antibiotics like streptomycin, neomycin, or kanamycin. You should always discuss the side effects of medication with your doctor and keep consulting with an audiologist if your medicine shows ototoxicity. In many cases of life-threatening illnesses, like cancer, the medicine you’re taking probably won’t be changed, so your audiologist will help you manage the effects on your hearing. In other cases, your doctor will change your medicine, but the damage to your ears may not heal. This is why self-prescribing drugs is never a good idea.
4. Noise Exposure
If you work or live around a loud area, you will risk developing hearing-related issues. This is especially true for individuals who work in factories and operate machines. In such a case, protecting your ears with earplugs or noise-canceling headphones is vital. If you live in a noisy area, work on sound-proofing your space. Carelessness here may give you life-long regrets, so be proactive in maintaining your health.
Being at risk does not imply you will lose your hearing for sure. If any of these factors are related to you, you should consult a doctor. The earlier you start to care for your hearing health, the better you’ll be able to maintain your quality of life. If you already have hearing aids, be sure to care for them properly. You can find a detailed guide at Helix Hearing Care.
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