What causes hearing loss

Hearing loss can be caused by many different factors. Hearing loss can be present at birth, occur during childhood or anytime during adulthood. Hearing loss of any sort should be taken very serious. Since hearing is crucial to our well being and to a child’s development, recognizing hearing loss at its earliest stages is very important.

The first type of hearing loss that can occur is that which is present when a baby is born. Some babies are born completely deaf. This is caused when the parts of the ear canal never completely developed in the womb. If the mother’s health was compromised during pregnancy, hearing problems in the fetus can be a side effect. Premature babies commonly have more hearing problems but it can occur in a full term pregnancy as well. If parents have a hearing disorder or are deaf, babies may inherit the same condition. There are tests performed on newborns now that can help doctors determine if a baby has been born with hearing loss. Often times the baby may develop hearing loss after birth due to other factors. Suffering from severe respiratory conditions or having to be on ventilators or other breathing equipment can interfere with hearing as well.

Children may also suffer from hearing loss after having numerous ear infections or from having damage done to the ear drum. Children can puncture their ear drum by inserting objects into the ear canal which can cause permanent damage to the hearing. Having fluid in the ear multiple times can cause the hearing to eventually be affected or lost completely. This is a very common reason for a child to lose hearing during childhood. A lot of children who did not show hearing problems at birth may not begin to show signs of hearing problems until they reach ages 2 or 3 years old. Once speech and other developmental milestones are not mastered on time, the child may be evaluated for a hearing problem. Often this is when hearing loss is detected. If the problem is coming from fluid in the ear it may be necessary to surgically insert tubes in the ear so the fluid can drain. This can often improve the hearing dramatically and therefore speech and communication skills are improved as a result. If a child’s hearing loss is not detected in the early years of infancy or toddlerhood, a child may not acquire the proper skills to communicate with parents or other caretakers. This can cause a lot of frustration in both the child and the parents. Behavior may be affected as the child tries to express how they are feeling or what they want. Luckily if hearing problems are detected early on, surgery and earring aids may help improve the hearing, also other means of communication may be taught to help a child develop at the correct rate.

In adults, hearing loss can be caused by a set of different factors. Medical conditions such as strokes, tumors, infections, heart problems, and also taking certain medications may interfere with the proper functioning of the ears. Some people notice as they age their hearing slowly becomes impaired over time. This is a condition known as presbycusis. No one really understands why this happens although having a family history of hearing disorders may contribute. A condition known as tinnitus is when a person suffers from noises in the ears such as ringing or swooshing sounds. This is usually caused by repeated exposure to very loud noises.

If you have any hearing loss, no matter what your age, it is important to see a hearing specialist to determine if your hearing loss can be improved. Seeing a doctor at the beginning stages of hearing loss may be the key to preventing further damage from being done to the ears.

Last updated on Dec 5th, 2009 and filed under Other Conditions & Diseases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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