Be aware that the workplace is a huge risk for hearing loss. According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC), 22 million Americans are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year. This organization says that work-related hearing loss is one of the most common reasons for occupational illnesses in the U.S. Nearly one in five workers, they say, are exposed to hazardous workplace noise. Did you know that noise about 85 decibels is considered dangerous to your hearing without protection and can lead to tinnitus--ringing in the ears--and/or hearing loss?
If you are uncertain about whether or not your workplace is safe for hearing, check out the free SoundCheck app at Google Play or the App Store. Jobs like repair and maintenance, motor vehicle operations, or constructions trades are high risk for hearing loss, for example. So be sure to wear hearing protection in those instances. Work and hearing loss is common. Protect your hearing as often as you can wherever there is loud noise.
For a free hearing test, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids in any of six locations in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Injury, heredity, aging, noise exposure, infection, and more can cause hearing loss. The auditory nerve is damaged in these cases, and this type of hearing loss is sensorineural. Even though sensorineural hearing loss is the most common kind, an ear infection, which belongs to a less common class, can also cause hearing loss. Ear infections causing hearing loss are of the conductive kind. Fluid in the middle ear accumulates, blocking the movement of the eardrum and the tiny bones attached to it.
Conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss impacts the outer or middle ear instead of the auditory nerve. Normally, an obstruction in the middle ear causes conductive hearing loss. Your auditory nerve receives sound through the movement of the middle ear. A blockage can stop sounds from getting through the middle ear and lead to hearing loss.
The good news
Hearing loss due to ear infections is usually temporary and most often goes away with treatment. Antibiotics or tubes to drain the fluid are par for the course. Your eardrum can rupture from fluid buildup without treatment.
A more serious problem
Recurrent ear infections can lead to scarring or thickening of a membrane in your ear. The thickening/scarring of the membrane or having a hole in your eardrum can reduce hearing acuity. If treatment fails, hearing aids may be the recommended treatment. For a hearing loss, please contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Certain health conditions that threaten your hearing and overall health are unavoidable, but others can be stopped. A good preventative measure is to take steps to make sure all of your vaccinations are still good. Get new vaccinations or boosters as prescribed by your physician. Below are six common conditions that put your hearing at risk and can be prevented by getting the proper vaccinations. Consult your physician for more details.
1. Pneumonia (pneumococcal disease) and hearing loss
More than just your lungs can be affected by pneumonia. Pneumococcal bacteria causes more than half of all middle ear infections. The worst forms of the bacteria are responsible for permanent hearing loss. Thirteen forms of the bacterial infection are avoided with the conjugate vaccine. For adults 65 years or older, or for those under 65 with a weakened immune system, the PCV13 vaccine works well as a preventative tool. Protecting you against 23 forms the bacteria is the PPSV23, and this vaccine is for adults 65 or older with a higher risk of getting the infection.
2. Meningitis and hearing loss
Hearing loss can be caused by the bacterial form of meningitis. Inflammation to the cochlear nerve can damage it. The cochlear nerve conducts sound from the ear to the brain for processing. Meningococcal conjugate and serogroup B are two vaccines recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to protect at-risk adults. Consult your physician to see if you are at risk for meningitis if you are entering the military, planning to travel overseas, or diagnosed with an immune deficiency. However, contracting meningitis is not limited to these groups.
3. Measles/mumps/rubella and hearing loss
Partial or complete hearing loss can be caused by the measles. Rubella, also known as the German measles, can cause women, during the early stages of pregnancy, to pass the virus to the fetus. It can lead to birth defects, including deafness. Conversely, damage to the inner ear or cochlea can occur with the mumps viral infection and can lead to hearing loss or deafness in one or both ears.
The vaccine recommended for children between the ages of 12 and 15 months, with a second dose at ages four to six months, is the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) type. Adults who were born in or after 1957 who were never vaccinated should get one or more doses of the MMR vaccine, unless there is certainty the vaccine was received as a child or all three diseases were contracted at some time. It is important to talk to your physician about the MMR vaccine, especially if you are planning to travel abroad.
4. Whooping cough (pertussis) and hearing loss
Whooping cough can cause irreversible hearing loss. The first round of the five-dose DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine should have been given to you at the ages of two, four, six, and 15. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) is a booster available for adults and adolescents who didn’t get the DTaP series vaccine. Also, the Tdap vaccine should be given to pregnant women between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. In addition, a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccine should be given to adults every 10 years, even if the DTaP and Tdap vaccines and boosters were given.
5. Chickenpox (varicella zoster) and hearing loss
The hearing of both children and adults can be damaged by the chickenpox virus. The resurfacing of chickenpox as the shingles or Ramsay Hunt Syndrome in adults who had chickenpox in their childhood years could cause hearing loss. For children, adolescents, and adults, two doses of the varicella vaccine are recommended. Ask your doctor if you got the measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine between the ages of one and 12 years old. If you are over 60 years old, regardless of whether or not you had the chickenpox, the shingles vaccine (brand name Zostavax®) is recommended.
6. Flu (influenza) and hearing loss
The flu can cause temporary hearing loss due to congestion, but you will recover from the hearing loss once you are better from the flu. But if the virus attacks the ears directly, it can result in sudden and sometimes permanent hearing loss. There are many types of the flu. The H1N1 virus (swine flu) and H3N2 (dog flu) are just two types of the various strains of the flu. The CDC calculates the risk of contracting certain types of the flu each year, recommending the proper vaccinations. Basically, though, a flu vaccination should be given to everyone six months or older at the beginning of every flu season. The flu season starts in the fall and goes through winter. A single shot consisting of quadrivalent and trivalent is often available to combat multiple flu viruses.
All of the conditions above are a concern in terms of potential hearing loss. Consult your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for more details.
Whether from children laughing, birds singing, or enjoying your favorite tunes, the world is full of lovely sounds. However, sound can also be unpleasant, loud, and bothersome. While prolonged exposure to loud sounds can be damaging to your ears, some people use sound as a weapon to hurt others.
Hearing loss reported by U.S. diplomats
At least 24 U.S. diplomats working at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba allege that warfare involving sonic sound was used to harm them, just to give one recent example of how others can utilize sound as a weapon. Reported were mysterious illnesses with symptoms including nausea, blood disorders, hearing loss, and headaches.
These acoustic attacks were carried out, allegedly, using sonic devices, such as ultrasound (above audible range) and infra-sound (below audible levels). These devices were supposedly directed at the diplomats’ houses, as thought by many people. Other theories include viral infections, electromagnetic pulses, and weaponized chemicals. But, then, the illnesses could have been simply caused, unintentionally, by having close proximity to wind farms in Cuba. Despite these allegations, an unknown cause of hearing loss definitely occurred.
Increasing the volume
In trying to detain Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega in 1989 for major drug crimes, the U.S. Army tried sound weaponry. Noriega was holed up at the Vatican Embassy in Panama City when the U.S. Army utilized a method of psychological warfare to force him out and surrender. Blasted was music, such as “Panama” by Van Halen, “Run Like Hell” by Pink Floyd, “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, and “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi. Although the attempt was halted at the request of the ambassador serving as an intermediary, Noriega did surrender. It is uncertain, however, how much blasting extremely loud music, continuously, affected Noriega’s decision to surrender.
Using sonic crowd control
Police sometimes use sonic weapons to break up groups of protesters. Another example of a sonic device is the LRAD sound cannon. It’s a long-range acoustic device, and it was used at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, in Missouri in 2014, and North Dakota in 2016. By causing headaches, this non-lethal device breaks up crowds and drives people away. But a controversial side effect is that it can cause hearing loss in people closest to the device.
Dispersing pesky youth
Loitering teenagers can be a problem. Customers are often deterred by them, so a method of dispelling them from a storefront is by using The Mosquito. It’s a high-pitched device that projects sound audible only to young people under the age of 20. However, youngsters and babies, who can’t obviously leave voluntarily, can unintentionally be affected, as well. Teens will no longer loiter, but the potential ramifications of hearing loss to innocent children makes the use of the sound cannon controversial.
Using sonic weaponry may or may not be the best idea. Not much is understood concerning the long-term impact on individuals not targeted. While the effectiveness of the use of a sonic weapon during the Noriega incident is somewhat questionable, the power of sound is a fact. The only problem remaining is the serious damage and hearing loss that can happen with sound technology. The ethical debate of using powerful sound tactics is ongoing. If you suspect you have a hearing loss, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
The word associated with a drug having a harmful effect on the hearing nerves and hearing organs is “ototoxic.” Medications, chemicals, and drugs can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. With hearing loss becoming more prevalent among all ages, it is important to be aware that what you consume may increase your risk of hearing loss.
Over-the-counter drugs, as well as prescription drugs, can contribute to tinnitus and hearing loss. Therefore, an addiction will compound the issue. You might be unaware that the four common items found below could be in your home and be ototoxic.
Not only is drinking in excess risky, but hearing loss can occur. The small hair cells in the inner ear that create hearing can break down or be obliterated by too much drinking. Balance difficulties may then occur when alcohol absorbs into the fluid of the inner ear, changing the fluid’s density. Conversely, binge drinking impairs the auditory complex, which is the part of the brain responsible for sound.
Sources of caffeine
You might be surprised to learn that even though doses of caffeine are desirable and stimulating enough to keep you going on a daily basis, caffeinated products, such as tea, soda, or coffee, can impair your hearing health. In particular, your body becomes limited in recovering from temporary exposure to higher decibels, so the result is that caffeine makes recovery much slower.
Not only is smoking bad for your total health, but it also endangers your hearing. Nicotine in chewing tobacco, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and cigars constricts blood vessels and decreases oxygen levels in the blood, possibly resulting in permanent hearing damage. With the use of such products, the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear may be adversely affected. Tinnitus may also occur with nicotine use.
Increased damage to hearing can be caused by everyday pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Although large doses are usually the culprit, taking any of these pain relievers two or more times a week can alter hearing levels. Men under the age of 50 comprise the biggest risk for such use. According to a recent study, men using acetaminophen on a regular basis almost doubled their risk of experiencing hearing loss. Stopping regular use of pain relievers, however, can reverse hearing loss, according to studies.
Know and understand the risk of regularly using any of the aforementioned ototoxic drugs, despite large amounts being the greatest risk factor in developing problems. Consult with a hearing aid specialist for an evaluation and assistance if you suspect a problem with your hearing from an overabundance of ototoxic drugs. If you suspect ototoxic drugs are affecting your hearing, contact Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing screening.
The biggest causes of hearing loss are exposure to noise and natural aging. However, certain drugs and medications have been linked to hearing loss and tinnitus, too. Use of these “ototoxic” medications, if not managed properly, can result in permanent or temporary damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve:
According to the Center for Hearing and Communication:
Reasons People Experience a Loss of Hearing
Pollen grain allergies may cause temporary conductive hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss involves the inability of sound waves to reach the eardrum and middle ear ossicles (bones). This type of hearing loss is usually temporary and can be corrected by surgery or medication. Fluid build-up caused by colds, allergies, and ear infections also causes conductive hearing loss. In addition, eardrum perforation, excessive earwax and benign tumors are secondary reasons for conductive hearing loss.
Exposure to loud sounds may cause sensorineural hearing loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is more serious because it is associated with inner ear damage to the cochlea or nerve pathways extending from the brain into the middle ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss is also the most common form of hearing loss. It can be caused by aging, long-term exposure to loud noises, head trauma, severe illness, and inherited deafness.
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when microscopic hair cells are bent or broken. Once a certain number of hair cells are destroyed, a permanent type of hearing loss occurs. This is because the ear can no longer convert sound waves into neural signals that the brain is responsible for interpreting. Hearing aids are used to treat sensorineural hearing loss.
Find about more about what can cause hearing loss and what you can do to hear better again by contacting us today.