Having trouble hearing? Here’s what could be causing it… 2



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There are many reasons we could lose our hearing, especially as we get older. It could be as simple as a build-up of earwax, or as fundamental as a damaged pathway to the brain.

Only one rule applies to everyone: waiting will do you no favours. Hearing loss can be extremely subtle, but the consequences of leaving it unchecked can have a huge impact on both your physical and emotional health.

If you (or a loved one) have noticed any difficulty with hearing, there are some very easy ways to begin identifying the problem – right here and now, from the comfort of your own home.

Click here to take a quick online hearing test, or read on to learn about the potential causes.

The three types of hearing loss

Blockage or outer damage

In many cases, the inner ear may be working exactly as intended – but something could be preventing sound from reaching it. If you find yourself unable to hear certain fainter noises, or if everything feels a little quieter than it should be, chances are you’re dealing with conductive hearing loss.

This term describes any case in which something is stopping sound from being properly conducted through the outer and middle ear.

Thankfully, once identified, medical assistance can often resolve (or at least help ease) the situation.

Causes of conductive hearing loss can include:

  • Blockages of the ear canal by impacted earwax (cerumen) or other foreign objects
  • Ear infection
  • Fluid in the middle ear from a cold or the flu
  • Swimmer’s Ear
  • ‘Glue Ear’ (middle ear infection, often seen in children)
  • Allergies
  • Perforated eardrum, from a bad middle ear infection or an accident
  • Benign tumours
  • Otosclerosis – a hereditary condition where the bone grows around the tiny bones in the middle ear
  • A malformation of the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear
  • Partial or complete closure of the ear canal

Inner ear or neural damage

Sometimes the cause of hearing loss is a far more fundamental concern, affecting either the inner ear or the subsequent nerve pathways that send hearing information to the brain.

It can be caused by avoidable damage; it can be a symptom of an illness or injury; it can even arrive as a natural part of the ageing process.

This form of inner damage – known sensorineural hearing loss – is often permanent, making early diagnosis all the more important. At its worst, even louder noises can sound muffled or unclear.

With quick intervention, however, a hearing device can go a long way in maintaining a strong quality of life moving forward.

Potential causes include:

  • Hereditary and genetic causes
  • Ageing
  • Illnesses, such as mumps, measles or meningitis
  • Excessive exposure to loud noise
  • Head trauma
  • A malformation of the inner ear

A combination of causes

Sometimes both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss can affect hearing at the same time. For example, an outer ear infection can block hearing while the ageing process reduces the overall ability to process sound. Such cases are known as mixed hearing loss.

Have you experienced any of the above symptoms? Have you wondered about your own hearing ability? A simple online test – right here and now – can help you set the record straight. Click here to begin.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. A spinal misalignment at C2 level (upper neck) can cause deafness, and other ear problems.
    Allergies are a common cause of ear and eye problems
    “Milk allergies are very common in children… They are the leading cause of the chronic ear infections that plague up to 40% of all children under the age of six.”
    Julian Whitaker, M.D., “Health & Healing,” October, 1998, Volume 8, No. 10

    “Cow’s milk allergy is associated with recurrent otitis media (ear infection) during childhood.”
    Acta Otolaryngol 1999;119(8)

    “Breastfeeding protects US infants against the development of diarrhea and ear infection.”
    Pediatrics 1997 Jun;99(6):E5

    “If a bottlefed baby has an ear infection, eliminate milk and dairy products from the child’s diet for thirty days to see if any benefits result…a cause of frequent ear infections in children is food allergies.”
    James Balch, MD, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” ISBN 0-89529-727-2

    “Concerning ear infections, You just don’t see this painful condition among infants and children who aren’t getting cow’s milk into their systems.”
    William Northrup, M.D., Natural Health July, 94

    Cow’s milk has become a point of controversy among doctors and nutritionists. There was a time when it was considered very desirable, but research has forced us to rethink this recommendation… dairy products contribute to a surprising number of health problems (including) chronic ear problems…”
    Benjamin Spock, M.D., “Child Care,” 7th Edition

  2. Is there anything that can lessen the constant ringing in the ears caused by tinnitus to improve quality of life?

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