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You’re not alone if you’re concerned that you’re losing your hearing. Hearing is known to deteriorate with age, and rates of hearing loss among the general population tend to accelerate as people get older.

While roughly 15 percent of people over the age of 18 have some level of hearing loss, that rate increases to one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74. Meanwhile, nearly half of adults over the age of 75 experience some level of hearing loss.

Below are some of the most common causes and conditions that lead to hearing loss.

#1 Age

Age on its own can be a cause of hearing loss, as your inner ear breaks down over time and loses some of its ability to pick up on sounds. Age-related changes in the inner ear and middle ear, as well as changes along nerve pathways, can affect how well your ear picks up sounds in your environment.

Audiologists Toronto Hearing Consultants recommend booking regular hearing tests as you get older. Hearing loss can take place slowly, and setting a baseline will help with an earlier diagnosis.

#2 Exposure to Loud Noise

Exposure to loud noise is a major risk factor for hearing loss. Loud noises damage cells in your inner ear.

Consistent exposure to loud noises over the course of your lifetime can cause hearing loss. Certain careers such as construction, mining, aviation, and manufacturing are at higher risk for hearing loss than others. However, hearing loss can also be the result of a single loud bang.

#3 Earwax

Earwax buildup is one of the more benign causes of hearing loss, and getting your ear cleared out can help. In some cases, getting your earwax checked out can lead to the discovery of more permanent hearing loss and lead to a solution such as getting a hearing aid.

#4 Ototoxicity (Caused by Some Medications)

Certain medications can cause damage to the inner ear. Symptoms often include a ringing in your ear (tinnitus), hearing loss, and balance issues. Medications include sildenafil, certain antibiotics, and some medications used to treat cancer.

#5 Genetics

In many cases, your heredity can make it more likely that you will experience hearing loss as you age. Relatives with a history of hearing loss can be a warning sign that you may experience hearing loss as you get older.

#6 Otosclerosis

This condition involves abnormal bone growth in your middle ear. This bone remodelling is a lifelong process where bone tissue renews itself. The abnormal remodelling created by new tissue can lead to hearing loss by disrupting the ability for sound to travel from the middle ear to the inner ear.

#7 Ruptured Eardrum

A ruptured eardrum can be the result of loud blasts of noise, having your eardrum poked by an object, an infection that causes the eardrum to burst, or sudden changes in pressure. Most of the time, a ruptured eardrum can heal itself over time, even without treatment. However, it can also lead to an infection.

There are many causes of hearing loss, though the most common are simply age and genetics. If you notice any signs of hearing loss, such as difficulty hearing in loud or busy environments, book a hearing test with an audiology clinic.

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