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The Warning Signs of Acquired Hearing Loss

When it comes to hearing loss, this condition can occur at any time in both children and adults. If one loses their hearing after being born, the condition is referred to as Acquired Hearing Loss. There are many reasons for this to happen; however, in children, ear infections can be the main culprit. Illnesses such as chicken pox, measles, and mumps can also cause this medical condition to occur. For adults having hearing loss occur later in life, the reasons for the development to occur may be caused by an inner ear infection called Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease. Hearing loss can occur with the use of ototoxic medications, which are found in drugs associated with chemo therapy and diuretics. Other causes for Acquired Hearing Loss in both children and adults are through traumatic brain injury, or the presence of a tumor within the middle ear.

In children with Acquired Hearing Loss, the warning signs that something is wrong are very noticeable. For instance, if a child is having problems hearing they will not get startled at the sound of loud noises, nor will they respond as they should to voices calling their name, for example. A child with hearing problems will often respond with the words of “what” and “huh” when being spoken too, because they couldn't hear the conversation. Another warning sign is when they deliberately turn the volume up on the TV and sit closer to it that usual in order to hear it. For the adult, some examples of warning signs that something is amiss are when their speech becomes muffled and they constantly want you to speak up or speak louder.

Causes of Acquired Hearing Loss

In children, we already discussed one source of hearing loss, an ear infection or Otitis Media. This occurs in the middle ear and is caused by an inflammation or a build up of fluid behind the eardrum. Otitis Media comes in varying degrees in the severity of the condition and how often it occurs. If the fluid in the ear is not infected, a child may not feel pain with the infection, nor run a fever with it. However, if the fluid is infected with thick glue-like fluid in the ear, most likely this type of ear infection will be accompanied with pain, fever and perhaps hearing loss if the infection keeps coming back. With all ear infections there is a loss of hearing until the condition is cleared up, but many times, if not taken care of, the effects can become permanent.

Another cause of acquired hearing loss in children and older kids is noise exposure. Extreme loud noises or sounds can and will assault or damage the ears. In today’s society loud noises are a dominant part of our lives. Music is loud, traffic is loud, even things we take for granted such as the hair dryer, vacuum cleaner and the TV make loud noises. We do not live in a silent world, or one with moderate noise levels that are pleasing to the ear. Other things contributing to extreme noise are rock concerts, car horns, lawn mowers, movie theaters and of course night or dance clubs. For small children extreme noise levels can often come from their toys, which are a culprit in causing hearing problems if they are buzzing, banging, honking and beeping too loudly and too often.

Since hearing loss occurs in both the young and the old we must examine another source of hearing impairment, that of aging. If you begin to lose your hearing after the age of 60, the condition is referred to as Presbycusis. When this happens, you may hear someone speaking, but not understand what is being said. With this medical problem, a person has difficulty in distinguishing high pitched sounds and certain letters. When an older person no longer enjoys conversations because they are misunderstood when they respond, the problem could be an effect of hearing loss that is interfering with their everyday life.

  • Causes of Hearing Loss in Children/Otitis Media The American Speech-language Hearing Association gives the definition of Otis Media and tells how it affects children.

  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders gives insight into noise-induced hearing loss. It talks of the symptoms and who is affected by this condition.

  • Causes, Risk Factors and Signs of Hearing Loss This website has information on Acquired hearing loss. It covers the causes, risk factors and lists the signs of hearing loss in children.

  • Deafness and Hearing Loss in Children/Caroline’s Story The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, discusses deafness and hearing loss in children on this website. It gives the personal story of one young individual who began her hearing loss experience at the age of 6.

  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss Kids Health discusses the condition of Tinnitus, an ear infection caused by loud noises. This website article focuses on noise induced hearing loss in teenagers.

  • Types of Hearing Loss This website explains the different types of hearing loss, including that of Conductive, Sensorineural and Mixed. It gives two examples of Acquired hearing loss: noise induced and Presbycusis.

  • Middle Ear Infection The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery gives a fact sheet on Chronic Otitis Media and hearing loss. It explains how this condition affects a child’s hearing. It also lists other conditions associated with hearing loss and the middle ear.

  • Hearing Loss and Older People The information found on this page covers the facts of hearing loss in older people. The article explains what hearing impairment is. It also lists some of the warning signs.

Who is affected with Hearing Loss?

Anyone bothered with hearing loss may feel that they are all alone, or tagged as “being different” when they are living among a general population of hearing individuals. However, a survey conducted by the National Family Opinion or the NFO, states that individuals suffering from hearing loss are not alone because the medical condition is a very common medical case. There are millions of people today living with some degree of hearing loss in the United States alone. According to the 2004 survey, there were approximately 31.5 million people living with hearing loss, and that population consisted of children, baby boomers, generation Xers, infants and seniors. This goes to show that hearing loss isn’t a medical condition that occurs only when you age. As the survey showed, 3 in 10 people who were over 60 had hearing loss. In the 29-40 group, 1 in 14 people were affected by hearing loss to some degree. 1 in 6 people ages 41-59 had reported some type of hearing loss . In addition, it was reported that there were 1.4 million children under the age of 18 who had hearing difficulties. This problem is wide-spread through all different demographics of people, from the young to the old.

  • The Demographics of Hearing Loss in California The information found on this website includes hearing loss facts and demographics. It gives statistical information on hearing loss in the U.S.

  • Hearing Loss Demographics The information given on this page contains the demographics of hearing loss in the U.S.

  • Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics This is an informative website explaining how hearing loss in men over 65 are more prone to hearing loss than women. It has information on hearing loss in Americans in general and also includes information on children.

  • Who Has Hearing Loss? Information given on this website states how many people are affected by hearing loss in the U.S. This article also discusses this condition in both children and adults, and how it affects the lives of each individual.

  • Hearing Loss Data and Statistics From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you will find data and statistics on hearing loss in children in the U.S.

  • The Prevalence of Hearing Loss The information on this website comes from The Better Hearing Institute of Washington D.C. The information contains a chart verifying the population of hearing loss by age group in America. The website also mentions two common myths on hearing loss.

  • Hearing Loss Facts and Stats On this website, you will find information relating to hearing loss, its causes and what happens if left untreated.

 Warning Signs to Look for

If things are not quite sounding right in your surroundings or your environment when it comes to hearing, you may be experiencing hearing loss. There are a number of warning signs to be aware of if hearing loss is interfering with the normal activities of everyday living. Below are the ten most common warning signs to let you know that something is wrong when you have difficulty perceiving with your ears. It is time to see a doctor when:

1) Normal sounds and speech become muffled, making it hard to understand conversation or hear the phone or doorbell ring.

2) You are among a crowd of people surrounded by background noise, making it difficult to hear conversations and speech.

3) You find yourself constantly asking people to speak louder and slower so you can understand what is being said.

4) Anytime you have to blare the volume on your radio or TV to listen to your favorite programs.

5) Your hearing difficulty keeps you from socializing and entertaining.

6) You begin having trouble understanding sounds and pitches, or distinguishing words that sound alike.

7) If you constantly have to ask someone to repeat themselves in conversation.

8) Speaking on the phone becomes difficult to hear the other caller.

9) You find yourself reading lips of people talking to you.

  • Warnings of Hearing Loss in Children On this North Carolina Government website, the article discusses childhood Acquired hearing loss. You will find information on risk factors, warning signs and what happens if the condition goes undetected.

  • Warning Signs of Hearing Loss in the Work Place This is a website article discussing the health effects of noise exposure. It talks about permanent and temporary hearing loss due to noise levels. There is a chart showing the noise levels of certain things, indicating what some high risk factors are for hearing loss.

  • Warning Signs of Hearing Loss in Musicians The information found in this article addresses the problem of hearing loss in musicians. It explains how loud music can cause mechanical trauma and sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Warning Signs of Noise Induced Hearing Loss On this website, the House Research Institute gives a fact sheet on noise-induced hearing loss. It explains what sounds cause this condition.

  • Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss From the staff at the Mayo Clinic, on their website, they discuss the signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Information also includes the definition of hearing loss and its causes.

  • Age Related Hearing Loss and Warning The information found on this website is on the topic of Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss. Information includes causes, incidence and risk factors. Also discussed are treatment methods and complications that lead to deafness. 

  • Warning Signs of Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Children This website gives information on the warning signs of children suffering from hearing loss induced by too much noise. It has a list of tell-tale signs to watch out for if you suspect hearing loss in your child.