Damaged ear nerve pathways, cochlea, and other inner ear organs are usually the common causes of SSHL. The severity of hearing loss varies with each individual. A person could experience either a unilateral hearing loss (occurring only in one ear) or bilateral hearing loss (both ears). So, how exactly are these parts of our ears damaged?
There are different factors that cause sudden deafness or sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). Although there is no definite explanation for unilateral SSHL, bilateral hearing loss have identifiable causes such as these factors below:
Frequent Exposure to Loud Noise
Being frequently exposed to loud noise hastens your chances of getting a noise-induced hearing loss. Sounds higher than 85 decibels already pose a threat to your hearing. The loud sound slowly damages the tiny hair cells within our inner ears which are our hearing’s nerve receptor. Once these tiny hairs deteriorate, they can never regenerate unlike the rest of our other body parts’ hair.
NIHL either occurs slowly or almost instantly. For instance, wearing headphones and listening to a sound at more than 90 dB for several hours each day will create hearing loss bit by bit. However, if the sound is as loud as a bomb explosion, it will cause hearing loss almost immediately.
Certain Health Conditions
There are numerous health conditions that affect our hearing health directly. Aging, chronic diseases, and head injuries are all contributors to sudden hearing loss. Here are some of their examples:
As we age, our body cells degenerate. It is the same for the hair follicles in our inner ears. Once these tiny hair follicles die, our hearing is affected, thus, we experience hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss is known as presbycusis. This type of hearing loss happens commonly among the elders.
Chronic diseases like high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease all affect our blood circulation. Cholesterol obstructs the exchange of blood flow between the heart, veins, and arteries. Likewise, if a person has kidney failure, there is no terminal for eliminating wastes and harmful toxins from our bodies.
Other types of chronic diseases of the ear are swimmer’s ear, tympanosclerosis, cholesteatoma, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease, and acoustic neuroma.
A severe physical head injury also causes hearing loss. Once any of your cerebral structures acquire extreme damages like fractures in the skull, middle ear structure damages, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), it will result in hearing loss.
Ototoxic medicines are drugs that cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Taking them in on a regular basis heightens hearing loss development. Individuals experience vertigo and tinnitus during the early signs of ototoxic drug-related hearing loss. Below is a list of the most common ototoxic medicines:
- Antibiotics (neomycin, gentamicin, streptomycin)
- Diuretics (bumetanide, furosemide)
- Aspirin in high dosages
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen)
- Cancer treatment drugs (bleomycin, cyclophosphamide, cisplatin)
If you are on any of these medications be sure to ask your doctor if these ototoxic drugs cause permanent or temporary hearing loss. Will it affect your hearing health at once? Are there any optional non-ototoxic drugs that they can recommend as a substitute instead? Let your doctors know about your hearing health concern and don’t hesitate to inform them of your pre-existing hearing health conditions if there are any.
Sudden hearing loss can be both predetermined or not. We should take responsibility for our lifestyle and ensure that one of our goals is to sustain a healthy hearing. Caring for our hearing health is caring for our entire well-being. Should anything go wrong, not only does our hearing get affected, our mental, physical and social state gets affected as well.
Let us help you and your loved ones in your hearing health journey. Call (888) 210-5846 to schedule a free hearing test with us now. Or you can also visit Beltone Audiology for more information on hearing health and hearing loss.