It’s not just an age thing
There are so many causes of hearing loss. The main factors are regular exposure to loud noises, perforation of the eardrum, ear wax build-up and, yes, aging. Hearing loss can be sudden (e.g. the result of being near an explosion), or it can be gradual (e.g. a hereditary condition).
There are two types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural, although a third is a combination of the two. Conductive hearing loss is when sound isn’t conducted properly through the ear canal to the eardrum to the three tiny bones in the middle ear, called ossicles. Some of the causes are an ear canal or middle ear infection, having fluid in the middle ear or scarring of the eardrum. Conductive hearing loss can be corrected with surgery or with hearing aids. However, sensorineural hearing loss is damage to the cochlea or hearing nerve pathways. Some of the causes might be viral or bacterial infections, certain medications, Meniere’s disease and aging. This type of hearing loss usually can’t be corrected with surgery or with hearing aids.
We may notice hearing loss socially, such as having difficulty following conversations with more than two people. We may notice it emotionally, where we withdraw from social situations we would normally attend. And we may notice it medically, where we take medications that may cause hearing loss. Whatever the reason, Statistics Canada in 2002 found that more than one million adults across the country have reported some type of hearing loss; however, other studies show that it could be approximately three million adults, because many people don’t report hearing loss to their doctors. If you think you have problems with your hearing, don’t hesitate; see an audiologist, an otolaryngologist or your doctor. Hearing loss that goes untreated is more noticeable to others than wearing a hearing aid.
Did You Know?
Research is being done to find a correlative link between hearing loss and heart disease. Dr. David Friedland of the Medical College of Wisconsin explains that because our inner ears are quite sensitive to blood flow, they might be able to detect abnormalities in our cardiovascular system early.
Canada has two predominant visual languages used by Deaf people: American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes Québecoise (LSQ).
For more information on hearing loss and preventative measures, visit the Canadian Hearing Society website or see your local hearing clinic.