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” Receiving my cochlear implant has given me my life back. ”

Richard, Somerset, United Kingdom Contact Richard

” Receiving my cochlear implant has given me my life back. ”

Richard, Somerset, United Kingdom Contact Richard

Common causes of hearing loss 

On average one of every 1,000 children in the UK is born deaf. A hearing loss can be diagnosed as early as the first days of life with a Newborn Hearing Screening. 
If your baby fails this test, further hearing assessments will be performed. Early detection of hearing loss in children is important, because it may affect their ability to speak. Diseases, injuries or a progressive deterioration are other causes of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can be further categorized. It can be temporary, after an acoustic trauma, or permanent. It can be present from birth (congenital hearing loss) or acquired at any age. It may affect one ear or both ears. The root causes for hearing impairments may lie in the ear (outer, middle, inner ear, hearing nerve) or the brain. Your ENT doctor is able to identify the cause of your hearing loss. Treatment will depend on its type and degree.

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The most common causes for congenital hearing problems are: 

  • Genetic – more than half of the children born deaf have an inherited gene defect
  • Complications during pregnancy, such as infections like German measles, cytomegalovirus (CMV), or toxoplasmosis. Certain medicines can also damage a baby’s hearing system before birth.
  • Ear malformations

 The most common causes for acquired hearing problems are:

  • Infections such as meningitis, measles or mumps
  • Premature birth
  • Chronic ear infections such as otitis media, or glue ear
  • Head injuries
  • Noise
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Ageing
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Age-related hearing loss 

Hearing may deteriorate as a part of the natural ageing process. From around 50 years of age the risk for presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, increases. Initially, it starts with high-frequency sounds. Usually, age-related hearing loss is treated with hearing aids. Sometimes, however, they are not enough. Then a hearing implant may be a solution. It is important to treat presbycusis early in order to maintain a person’s quality of life and prevent social isolation

Causes for age-related hearing loss:

  • Natural ageing process
  • Inherited
  • Noise, smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol

Noise-induced hearing loss 

Exposure to loud noise, whether it is repeated or a single event, is a very common cause of permanent hearing loss.
An acoustic trauma occurs after exposure to a very high sound level for a short time. An explosion produces a loud noise as well as a strong pressure wave which can damage the delicate hair cells in the cochlea. A severe noise-induced hearing loss can be treated with a cochlear implant.
Repeated exposure to loud noise over time, for instance at work or from listening to loud music through headphones, may also lead to deteriorated hearing.
Unborn children are able to hear noise as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Pregnant mothers should therefore avoid noise whenever possible.

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Sudden hearing loss – stress-related?

Your physical as well as your emotional well-being may affect your hearing. Long-term stress may induce a sudden hearing loss. Adrenaline, a stress hormone, diverts oxygen to your muscles rather than your inner ear. However, the hair cells in the cochlea need oxygen to perform their tasks. Poor circulation can cause sudden hearing loss or tinnitus (a constant ear noise).
Consult a doctor immediately if you suspect a sudden hearing loss.

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