There are several potential causes of hearing loss, with aging and heredity being the most common ones. As people grow older, they may gradually accept hearing loss as natural and inevitable. While this sometimes is the reality, it often is not, and so it is important to learn about what actually causes hearing loss and identify underlying medical ailments that affect the type and severity of the condition.
Otosclerosis is a rare medical condition that causes conductive hearing loss (involving the middle ear) and makes it harder for tiny bones in the middle ear to move. This condition is genetic and is more common in women than men. The symptoms include tinnitus, dizziness, or hearing hissing or roaring sounds.
Menieres disease is an inner ear hearing disorder that disturbs hearing and balance. The condition can cause vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or sensorineural hearing loss. Ménière's disease can occur at any age and usually affects one ear.
Measles is a virus-induced infection most common in children, in which the brain swells up and damages nerves. This can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss.
Mumps is another infection that is common in children and causes the salivary glands to become inflamed, resulting in swollen cheeks. This condition can cause damage to the cochlea, a spiral cavity in the inner ear which contains tiny hair cells. These cells turn vibrations into nerve impulses which are then interpreted by the brain as sound. Damage to them can result in decreased clarity and volume.
According to a study, hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes than in those without this disease. As the resulting hearing loss gradually worsens over time, it can be difficult to notice the symptoms immediately.
This is a non-cancerous tumor growing directly on the nerve responsible for hearing and balance. The tumor may be initially small but can gradually grow to a bigger size that is more threatening. Even if the tumor is surgically removed, the patient can still experience hearing loss.
STDs can also result in hearing loss. However, in most cases, early treatment can resolve any issues and prevent permanent deafness.
Besides these medical conditions, several medications, especially ototoxic drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, some antibiotics, and cancer medicines, have the ability to damage the ear's structure and cause hearing loss. Timely intervention may help identify the cause and treat it right at the source.
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