Hearing Loss Overview
What is hearing loss?
How do I know I have hearing loss?
Where does hearing loss come from?
The most significant cause of hearing loss is age-related hearing loss. Hearing loss associated with age (presbycusis) is a natural occurrence. It typically begins between 45 and 65 years of age and may be exacerbated by environmental factors as chronic exposure to noise. Hearing loss associated with age primarily affects the higher frequencies and develops in both ears. It is thought to be due to the wear and tear that the hair cells in the cochlea experience. This means the auditory nerve receives fewer sound signals to send to the brain for processing.
Following aging-related damage to the inner ear, noise-induced hearing loss is the second biggest source. Lengthy exposure to intense noise levels, for example, from noisy occupations or listening to loud music, triggers noise-induced hearing loss. It can also occur from short and thunderous sound bursts like gunshots and explosions, which can cause physical damage to the ear structures. You may not notice the symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss for a long time, but the damage has definitely been done. Many suffer from tinnitus as the first indication that noise has impaired their hearing.