Hearing is a very important part of how we navigate the world, but millions of people suffer its loss for many reasons. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) report that about 14% of Americans (48 million people) report some measure of hearing loss, and a similar number report having tinnitus (ringing in the ears). That amounts to a prevalence of hearing problems that is higher than diabetes or cancer, with one in five men and one in eight women having these issues.
This makes it all the more important to get your hearing checked when you start experiencing signs of trouble. To best determine when you should get that done, let’s examine the common causes of hearing problems and the signs you may experience. If you live in the Orlando or Kissimmee, Florida area and struggle with signs of hearing loss, Drs. Wade Han, Elvira Livigni De Armas, and the medical team at Florida Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center can help you get the problem under control.
Common causes of hearing loss
There are several reasons people suffer from loss of hearing:
Age: Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is a gradual cause you may not notice as it's happening that may also come with changes in your inner ear.
Conditions and infections: Viral and bacterial infections can lead to damage to your ears, along with conditions like otosclerosis and Meniere’s disease.
Injuries: Head trauma can damage ears, and tumors like acoustic neuroma can create problems in both ears.
Noise exposure: Loud music may come to mind with this one, but this can result from the sounds of traffic, construction work, or other environments where lots of noise is a problem.
Side effects: Ototoxic drugs are linked to hearing loss and they include some diuretics, NSAIDs, chemotherapy drugs, and aminoglycoside antibiotics.
Genetics: Over 400 different rare and genetic conditions include hearing loss that can be passed down from a parent.
Other factors can increase the risk of hearing loss, including sleep apnea, alcohol abuse, iron deficiency, mumps, vaping, and chronic stress.
Signs of hearing problems
Here are some things you may be experiencing that indicate you need to get your ears examined:
1. Having trouble following conversations
If you can’t make out what other people are saying and you’re not experienced at reading lips, then conversations may seem harder to follow if you’re losing your hearing.
2. Needing the volume up louder
When you’ve turned up the volume loud enough that other people complain when they come into the room, you may have a hearing issue.
3. Having difficulty talking on the phone
Not being able to distinguish noises can be more difficult when talking on the phone, especially if there is an unfamiliar inflection or accent, or problems with reception.
4. Asking people to repeat themselves
There are plenty of reasons to not catch what someone says the first time, but if you struggle to make out what people are saying to the point where they have to repeat it over and over, you may have a hearing problem.
5. Experiencing a sound no one else hears
This condition has been briefly mentioned before, but if you’re experiencing a ringing, whistling, clicking, or roaring sound no one else hears, you could be suffering from hearing problems.
Get your hearing checked
Hearing problems can be frustrating and caused by many different factors, but we can help you preserve your ears. An ear examination, or otoscopy, tests for hearing problems to determine the cause of hearing issues and helps us decide the treatment method that works best for you.
Make an appointment with Drs. Han, Livigni De Armas, and the team at Florida Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center today to get your ears examined and receive the treatment you need.