Hearing begins when the outer ear, the visible portion of the ear that is on the outside of the head, channels sound waves down the auditory canal. This tube-like passageway is lined with tiny hairs and small glands that produce ear wax.
The middle ear lies at the end of the auditory canal. It is composed of the eardrum and three small bones, known by the layman as the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. When sound waves hit the eardrum, it vibrates and, in turn, moves the hammer. The hammer moves the anvil, which moves the stirrup, transmitting the vibrations into the inner ear. The middle ear functions to amplify sound, which is why significant hearing damage can result from any disruption in any of the parts.
The inner ear consists of the cochlea and the nerve of hearing. It converts sound waves into nerve impulses that travel to the brain via the movement of tiny hair cells. The brain, in turn, allows us to hear, as long as the message it is receiving is not distorted due to problems in the process just described.
Many people suffer from hearing loss…
In fact, the latest available statistics show that about 20% of the U.S. population reports difficulty hearing! That’s more than 48 million people! And as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that number promises to increase dramatically!
Men (ranging from 20-year-olds to 69-year-olds) are almost twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss compared to women.
Are you one of those millions of people who does not hear as well as they once did? If so, you are certainly not alone. If you feel that you need assistance along your hearing recovery journey or if you would like to contact us regarding the issues you may be experiencing, we encourage you to reach out right away!
Consider these statistics reported by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., former Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute:
About 15% of American adults over 18 report trouble hearing and 1 out of 3 people at age 65 have hearing damage 50 million Americans experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears) About 2-3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears and more than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents
Age is the most prevalent predictor of hearing loss among 20-year-old to 69-year-old adults (the people who experience the most hearing loss range from 60-year-olds to 69-year-olds) and more than 30 million Americans experience dangerous noise levels at work
In addition, studies have linked untreated hearing loss to emotional, physical, mental, psychological and even economic disadvantages! And, to make matters even worse, there are many “myths” about hearing loss that prevent those with hearing loss from doing anything about it. Do your best not to listen to those myths or let the opinions of others hold you back from seeking treatment for the hearing loss you experience. If you experience hearing loss, we encourage you to take action as soon as you can so that you can get back to enjoying life again!
Adam Savage’s Loss of Hearing
Causes of Hearing Damage
One of the most common “myths” about hearing loss is that only “old people” suffer from it! In fact, the reverse is true! The majority (65%) of people who suffer from hearing damage are actually much younger than 65 and six million people in the U.S. between 18 and 44 suffer from loss of hearing. Age is a contributing factor, but it still definitely does not rule out the exception of millions of teen and young adult Americans who suffer from hearing loss on a daily basis.
The truth is that there are several causes of hearing loss with “exposure to noise” ranking high among the reasons. The primary causes of hearing loss are:
Exposure to extremely loud noises being close to the eardrum
Family history of hearing loss (genes make a big difference)
Medicine (be extra careful with the types of medicine you use or insert into your ear)
Aging process (most people who suffer from hearing loss are usually a part of the population’s older demographic)
Disease (do you best to live a healthy lifestyle)
Head trauma (be careful with harmful objects around your head and ears at all times)
Ways you can prevent hearing loss
– Let your friends and family know that you are putting effort into reducing your risk of losing your hearing or that you are trying to improve your already existing hearing loss issues so that they can stay mindful of your sensitive ears in environments where they might otherwise play loud music or talk loudly
– Keep the volume of your TV, music, or radio at a lower level
– If you are in an environment where the volume level is out of your control, try to take breaks to limit your exposure to the sound
– Use earplugs when you need to
– Pay attention to signs that might warn you of potential loud noises in the surrounding environment, and then avoid those specific areas as much as possible
– Bring hearing protection devices with you when you are on the go to help protect your ears from possible ear-damaging noises
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Types and Treatments of Hearing Loss
Treatment of hearing loss depends upon the type of loss. There are four types of hearing loss:
Conductive hearing impairment occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that interferes with the passing sound to the inner ear. This could be caused by something as simple as earwax buildup! In most cases, medical or surgical options are available and can often resolve the hearing loss.