Hearing Loss

Understanding the specific type of hearing loss you have is the first step towards finding the right solution for you. If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, Dr. Dekriek is here to help.
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Hearing Loss: Causes & Types

Do you feel like people fail to speak clearly? Or perhaps you are struggling to follow conversations with your family, friends or colleagues. These communication difficulties may be a sign of a hearing loss.

If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, you are not alone. In fact, the latest available statistics show that over 12% of Americans experience some degree of hearing loss. That is an astonishing 38+ million Americans dealing with a hearing loss. Furthermore, people wait on average 7 years before seeking treatment and roughly 15 million Americans avoid seeking help altogether.

Consider these statistics reported by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute:

1 in 3 people over the age of 65 have some degree of hearing loss;
1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem;
1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss;
At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems;
It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss.


Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to emotional, physical, mental, psychological and even economic disadvantages. Seeking early intervention for a hearing loss allows people to improve their quality of life, both personally and professionally through advanced hearing aid technology.

Common Causes of Hearing Loss

The reasons people experience a hearing loss are a mixture of genetics, lifestyle, health conditions and aging. While each person is unique, there are a few common causes of hearing loss.

Exposure to loud noise

It’s imperative to know that anyone can suffer from hearing loss; however, being around loud noises tends to progress the loss quite rapidly. Repeated exposure to loud noises, and even one time exposure to very loud noises can cause permanent hearing damage. This is why it is so important to wear ear plugs when around loud noises, such as heavy machinery, lawn mowers, motorcycles, snow mobiles etc. Taking steps towards protecting your hearing through proper ear protection is the best way to prevent a hearing loss down the road.

Ototoxic Medications

Some pharmaceutical drugs include ototoxic ingredients that are scientifically proven to cause damage to hearing. These include certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs, and even high levels of aspirin may cause lasting hearing issues. Other ototoxic substances that can damage the ear include tin, arsenic, manganese, mercury and lead. Your primary physician can test you for elevated levels of these substances. Whenever you are prescribed a drug, always ask if there are any ototoxic side affects. If so, ask your doctor if there is an alternative you may take that does not cause damage to hearing.

Ear Buds

In today’s age and time, many people — especially younger people — are using ear buds on a daily basis to listen to their favorite tunes. And while the ear buds themselves don’t normally cause damage to the ear, when the buds don’t block background noise, this causes a person to turn up the sound of the music. Keeping this in mind, it’s always best to use ear buds or headphones that completely block out background noise so that the music doesn’t have to be too loud.

Smoking

It’s well-known that smoking causes much damage to the heart and lungs, but many people are unaware that it also contributes to hearing loss. When smoking, the blood vessel serving the cochlea doesn’t get as much oxygen as it needs, thus resulting in a loss of hearing. Also notable is that nicotine causes blood vessels to shrink, which can lead to a shrinkage in the small capillaries found in the ear.

Ear Infections

Infections that set up in the ear are not only painful, but when not treated quickly and properly, they can lead to detrimental hearing loss. This is why it’s important to catch the infections as soon as possible and have them treated promptly.

Sickle Cell Anemia

For people who have sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells in the body are not able to carry sufficient amounts of energy and oxygen to the various parts of the body, including the ears, which often leads to a loss of hearing. Some people who have sickle cell anemia have been known to go completely deaf in less than 24 hours.

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Types of Hearing Loss

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss (CHL) results from...

Common causes of CHL include:

  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Fluid in the middle ear from colds
  • Earwax
  • Benign tumors
  • Swimmer’s Ear
  • Foreign object in ear, etc.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed Hearing Loss is the occurrence of both Sensorineural and Conductive hearing loss.

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