Hearing loss is one of the most common problems for adults, as only arthritis and hypertension are more common. The most common causes of hearing loss for adults in the United States today are:
Genetics: Inherited sensorineural hearing loss can occur at any age, including in adulthood. Nearly 20% of our genes are involved in the human inner ear and scientists estimate that there are 150 to 200 genes that when damaged could lead to hearing loss.
Presbycusis: The aging process is a common cause of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss develops gradually in both ears with its greatest impact on the high frequencies affecting the clarity or understanding of speech. Age related hearing loss is believed to be caused by health problems including diabetes and hypertension.
Noise: Exposure to moderate levels of noise (over 85 dB) over a long period of time (6 to 8 hours) without hearing protection can lead to sensorineural hearing loss. In addition, brief exposure to high intensity sounds (100 dB+) is also damaging to the ears. This type of hearing loss is most often accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Many cases of adult hearing loss are a combination of these causes. If you suspect that you or a love one may have a hearing loss, make an appointment to have your hearing evaluated by an audiologist who will perform diagnostic hearing test procedures to determine the type and severity of hearing loss.
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