What are the risk factors for developing hearing loss?
A risk factor is something that increases your odds of developing an ailment, issue or illness.
There are a few risk factors that commonly contribute to hearing loss, but there are other less common ones as well. The more of these risk factors you have the better your chances of developing hearing loss. Decreasing the risk factors will also decrease the likelihood you will suffer from hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Risk Factors
Low Birth Weight
Premature birth and low birth weight are risk factors for hearing damage. Additionally, complications at birth like asphyxia and jaundice may increase the risk of hearing loss later in life.
Usher Syndrome, Otosclerosis and other genetic abnormalities can increase the risk for hearing loss. Also, conditions that change the structure or shape of the head and face are also risk factors.
Living our lives always results in some weathering of our whole bodies, including our ears. Age-related hearing damage (presbycusis) can be hereditary and progresses gradually.
Exposure to loud noise is the most common risk factor for hearing loss. It may be from a longer, repeated exposure over time (such as in a factory) or a short burst of very loud noise (like a gunshot). To prevent noise-related hearing loss, remember to bring ear protection like earplugs to lessen any injury. If you know you will repeatedly be exposed to loud noise, consider investing in custom ear plugs.
Some medications, including NSAID drugs, certain types of antibiotics and chemotherapy can damage hearing temporarily or permanently. For example, high doses of aspirin can cause ringing in the ears or even temporary hearing damage in some people. When these medications are stopped the symptoms most often wane. Chemicals in agricultural or factory settings may also be ototoxic (causing hearing damage). Ototoxic chemicals can also be found in cigarettes.
Diseases and Illnesses
Health issues like Meniere’s disease can affect inner ear fluid and lead to hearing damage. Tumors, vascular disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders may similarly affect hearing health. Injury to the head or other trauma can also cause hearing loss.
Aside from antibiotic medications and chemotherapy, radiation therapy can weaken hearing health, specifically when the radiation is focused in proximity to ears.
The likelihood for hearing loss can increase with exposure to any of these influences, but it does not guarantee it. This is not an all-inclusive list, and if you try to decrease the known risk factors of hearing damage, you will be considerably less likely to develop hearing loss.
Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget.