Causes Of Permanent Hearing Loss

Anything that totally blocks the ear canal can cause hearing loss. Blockage due to earwax is very common. Doctor's can cure this simply by removing the wax either with specifically designed instruments or by flushing with water. There are many over-the-counter wax control measures that can be used at home easily. However, they occasionally can cause external ear infections.

Every day, we experience sound in our surroundings, such as the sounds from television and radio, household electrical device, and traffic. Usually, we hear these sounds at a safe level that does not affect our hearing. However, when we are exposed to harmful sounds that are unbearable and very loud sensitive structures in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). These sensitive structures, called hair cells, are minute sensory cells that translate sound energy into electrical signals that move to the brain. Once injured, our hair cells will not grow back.

NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense sound, such as an explosion, or by unremitting exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as noise generated in a woodworking store. Although being attentive of decibel levels is an imperative factor in protecting one's hearing, distance from the source of the sound and interval of exposure to the sound are equally significant. A good thumb rule is to avoid noises that are very loud and too close or that last very long.

Exposure to damaging sounds causes damage to the hair cells as well as the hearing or hearing nerve. Impulse sound can effect in instantaneous hearing loss that may be lasting. This type of hearing loss may be accompanied by tinnitus: a ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears or head, which may collapse over time. Hearing loss and tinnitus may be experienced in one or both ears, and tinnitus may carry on constantly or throughout a lifetime.

Continuous exposure to loud noise also can injure the structure of hair cells, resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus, although the process occurs more steadily than for impulse noise. Exposure to impulse and nonstop noise may cause only a temporary hearing loss. If a person regains hearing, the brief hearing loss is called a temporary threshold shift. The provisional threshold shift largely disappears 16 to 48 hours after exposure to loud noise. You can prevent NIHL from both impulse and continuous noise by frequently using hearing protectors such as earplugs or earmuffs.

Scientists believe that, depending on the form of noise, the pure force of sensations from the noise can cause hearing loss. Research also shows that exposure to harmful noise levels triggers the formation of molecules inside the ear that damage hair cells and result in NIHL. These destructive molecules play a significant role in hearing loss in children and adults who listen to loud noise for too long.

Ears are a very sensitive organ and it is very important for us to keep them in a good condition. Regular check ups and listening to music in a normal volume and avoiding areas with blaring music can keep our ears in good condition.