Roughly 1 in 3 people develop hearing loss gradually over time. There are many signs that may suggest hearing loss. Needing people to repeat themselves, misunderstanding what others say, and elevated TV volume are very common reasons why family members encourage people to go to the doctor. Having difficulty hearing when there is background noise and ringing in the ears are other frequent issues that people cause people to seek a hearing evaluation.
Every state now requires a hearing screen before a newborn is discharged from the hospital. Occasionally, the result of that screening test can be “failed,” “referred,” or “repeat.” This may be caused by something as simple as fluid blocking the ear canal or middle ear space. Fluid related hearing screening failures may resolve in a matter of only a few days. If your child continues to fail hearing screens as an infant, more detailed testing can be done to find the cause of the loss.
There are many types of genetic hearing loss that run in families. Some start to affect the hearing as early as grade school, while others do not appear until later in adulthood.
Noise related hearing loss can affect people at any age. It is possible that the noise from a single gunshot can permanently damage your hearing. There are also many types of medicines which can lead to hearing loss: certain IV antibiotics, water pills, aspirin, and some cancer drugs. Occasionally, someone will complain of hearing loss that happened suddenly or overnight. All these types of hearing loss are the result of damaged hearing nerves. If hearing loss is ever sudden, time is critical: better outcomes and recovery are typically associated with prompt treatment.
There are many additional causes of a temporary hearing loss. Wax build up is one of the most common and quickest to correct. Ear infections can cause a hearing loss by obstructing the ear canal or preventing the normal eardrum vibration. Eustachian tube dysfunction may make you feel like you are on an airplane with muffled hearing and the sensation that you need to pop your ears.
Seeking medical attention as soon as possible is recommended in order to treat the time-sensitive causes and to get your hearing better as fast as possible.