Hearing loss, which was once associated with the elderly, is becoming a prevalent problem in youngsters and baby boomers. Exposure to loud music for extended period of time tops the list of noise induced hearing loss.
There are 3 types of hearing loss, categorized by the part of the auditory system that is affected.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds are not properly conducted through the ear. This type of loss is characterized by a general reduction in sound level or the inability to hear faint sounds. It is often caused by a blockage in the ear, such as wax. Other causes can be an ear infection or allergy that stops sounds from traveling properly in the middle ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the middle ear or the nerve pathways of the ear. Age and exposure to loud noises are some of the factors that contribute to this type of hearing loss.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing losses, which occurs when there is damage to both the inner and outer ear areas. This type of hearing loss can be prevented.
The degree of hearing loss refers to the thresholds at which soft noises can be heard. There are 5 main categories: normal loss, mild loss, moderate loss, severe loss and profound loss. A hearing test can determine the degree of hearing loss you have.
Here are some tips for preventing hearing loss.
1. Most people turn up the volume on their television or radio in an attempt to drown out other noises. We live in a noisy environment. If you turn up the volume to the extent that you can no longer hear outside noises it is probably too loud. If others can hear the sound from your earbuds or headphones, it means the volume is too high.
2. Ear bud headphones have been found to be more damaging than over-the-ear style headphone. Ear buds creates more impact as they are closer to the inner ear. The advantage of over-the-ear style headphones is that they have noise cancellation that eliminates background noise without having to turn up the volume.
3. Reduce exposure time to loud noises. This includes all types of noise such as lawn mowers, food mixers, hair dryer and the like.
4. Use ear protection such as ear plugs or ear muffs wherever exposed to dangerous noise levels, be it at home, at work and at play.
5. As a parent, teach your child to listen to music or television at a safe level.