There is not much confusion as to why hearing loss is such a common ENT condition in today’s world. A lot of younger people end up with some degree of hearing loss because they think it can only happen to the elderly. As a result, they tend to pay little regard to the health of their ears.
For teenagers and college students, loud music is frequently played from speakers and headphones. For young adults or middle-aged people, there may be a screaming child or loud workplace sounds (occupational hearing loss is reported in a lot of construction workers or factory workers) that contribute to hearing loss. Seniors are known to develop presbycusis (prez-by-ku-sis) which is hearing loss that occurs gradually as you age. This is fairly natural, with as much as 33% of people in the U.S. between the ages of 65-75 having some level of hearing loss. This increasing to a whopping 50% of people past the age of 75.
Let’s not stray away from the dangers of (accidental) self-inflicted hearing loss either. If we can educate people a bit more on this issue now and prevent damage later, it’d be a victory for everyone! Although we have some of the top experts in the ENT field, there is unfortunately no way to actually reverse hearing damage once it occurs. Rather, treatments are offered that help amplify the sounds you should be hearing.
Let’s take a look at some information pulled from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to learn about decibels. Sound levels are measured in decibels, with the “safe range” containing typical everyday noises from a whisper at 30 decibels to a washing machine at 78 decibels. Compare this with sounds from the “risk” and/or “injury” ranges, which go from a motorcycle at 90 decibels to a jet engine taking off at 140 decibels. In terms of durations of loud sounds, the spectrum for max time of exposure goes all the way from 8 hours at 90 decibels to 30 minutes or less at 110 decibels. Since the list includes such common noises as city traffic, it is easy to see why hearing loss is such a common ENT condition.
Hearing loss can also sometimes be caused by other factors, such as damage to the eardrum from a blast or foreign object, a buildup of earwax preventing the conduction of sound waves, an infection, or even tumors or abnormal bone growths. Whatever the cause of your particular hearing loss, Westwood ENT is the place to go for treatment.