Audiology Experts Explain Hearing Loss CausesPosted by in Audiology
Smoking and Secondary Smoke & Hearing Loss
Studies are indicating that besides the fact that smoking is known to frequently cause cancer, heart disease, and lung diseases, it may also often cause hearing problems. Former smokers are more likely to experience impairments to their hearing that involve a reduction in the ability to hear high or low frequency sounds.
The New York University School of Medicine published its study findings in the July 2011 issue of Archives of Otolaryngology, indicating that teens are twice as likely to develop hearing loss as a result of being exposed to secondary smoke.
More than eight percent of the teens studied had no idea they had suffered hearing loss. Therefore, the study pointed to the importance of regular testing for hearing loss, as mild impairments may not be obvious to the affected individual or others in contact with the individual.
Audiologists are quick to point out that treatments for hearing loss are often insufficient to restore what has already been lost. Therefore, prevention is always preferable.
Loud Music & Hearing Loss
While many people are aware that excessively loud music may cause hearing damage, many are unaware that even the sound of a jackhammer or a child’s toy may be loud enough to permanently damage the ears. Audiology specialists say that noises do not have to be extremely loud to cause hearing problems, especially in young children.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), over 50% of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65. More than 12% of children are believed to have some hearing loss due to excessive noise.
Baby boomers are already discovering that the rock concerts they attended when young have had profound effects on their hearing, as many must now use hearing aids. Audiologists now fear that today’s young generation will experience a similar fate, especially due to the prevalence of ear bud use. Many young people play iPods and other devices at a volume that can be damaging to their hearing.
When the sounds enter the ear, the cells inside are vibrated, and these cells then send signals to the brain. These cells can become damaged, however, if noise levels are too great, and they cannot repair themselves.
Audiology experts now suggest that people of all ages wear ear plugs whenever they expect to be subjected to loud noises, such as at a concert or event, to cut down on the amount of noise that vibrates the cells within the ear canal. Whenever someone has difficulty hearing after such an event, it is an indication that the sound level was dangerously high.
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