The common misconception is that ageing is the main factor of hearing loss. While it is certain that our hearing abilities will deteriorate as we age, there are also many underlying causes of hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss can be categorised into three types:
- Conductive (outer to middle part of the ear)
- Sensorineural (inner part of the ear)
- Mixed (combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss)
Unfortunately, most type of hearing loss cannot be reversed. One should consult a hearing aid specialist in Singapore in order to be certain of the steps that one can take to improve hearing.
To understand how one experiences hearing loss, it is imperative that one understands how the ear works.
How The Ear Works:
> Firstly, sound waves pass through the outer ear and,
> the eardrum will then receive this, further amplify it to the middle ear
> The three small bones in middle part of the ear will also amplify the vibrations; they then travel into the inner part of the ear, known as cochlea.
The green pea sized cochlea in the inner part of the ear contains thousands of tiny hairs that act as the nerve cells that help to translate the sound vibrations into electrical signals.
> Electrical signals are then transmitted to one’s brain. This is how one interpret speech, identify what family and friends are talking about, differentiate noises from speech, etc.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss:
70% of hearing loss cases are due to natural aging. Other than aging, here are some common causes of hearing loss that affect our daily conversations, increasing the rate of elderly fall and accident rates.
> Inner Ear Damage
Other than aging, constant exposure to loud noises can cause wear and tear on the nerve cells and tiny hairs present in the cochlea. When the nerve cells are damaged, it loses the power to transmit electrical signals as efficiently. When this happens, higher pitched tones become increasingly muffled and harder to hear. This will later affect middle pitched and lower pitch. As a result, the patient can no longer hear as per normal.
> Earwax Build Up
Earwax can block the eardrum from receiving the sound waves. If earwax is the issue, then one can simply go for an earwax flushing with a registered medical practitioner to solve this temporary hearing loss.
> Ear Infection In The Outer Ear
Yeast Infection of the outer ear also prevents the eardrum from receiving these sound waves.
> Ear Infection and Abnormal Growth In The Middle Ear
Any infection or growth can cause the three small bones that amplify the vibrations to not work as efficiently.
> Damaged Ear Drum Due To Rupture
Sudden changes in pressure or even usage of external object to the ear canal can damage the eardrum, causing the ear drum to rupture. The ear drum is a thin membrane which breaks easily. In this case, the sound waves are not properly amplified.
Many times, one’s genetic simply make one’s ear more susceptible to ear damage. One’s ear condition will worsen especially if the ears are not being taken cared of.
> Illness or Stress
Certain illnesses can cause hearing loss, such as: meningitis, mumps, and cytomegalovirus.
Chronic stress if it happens regularly and is often not addressed can also cause distress to one’s ear and may eventually cause some form of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is very common especially when one ages (Singaporeans start at the age of 55 years old). However, there are also active steps that one can take to improve their hearing health.
(1) Exercise Regularly
(2) Practise Yoga Regularly
(3) Watch Your Stress Levels
(4) Practise Sound Identification & Isolation
(5) Practise proper ear hygiene and ear clearing
If you know of someone that is experiencing hearing loss, our hearing professionals strongly advise to have your hearing checked and get a free hearing test with us. Untreated hearing loss significantly increases the risk of dementia, even in mild to moderate hearing loss cases. Dementia is not treatable but hearing loss is.