Hearing Loss Causes & Treatment

When people think of hearing loss, they often believe it only affects seniors. But did you know that approximately 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from some form of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss? That number doesn’t even include those under 69 who suffer hearing loss due to other factors, some of which are listed below. To schedule an appointment to have your hearing tested, call (562) 427-0550 or request an appointment online today. 

Common Causes of Hearing Loss

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

NIHL is the most common cause of hearing loss. Depending on a combination of factors including the intensity, frequency, and duration of noise, sound has the capability to damage our hearing.

Sudden hearing loss can occur from exposure to one very high level of sound, such as an explosion. Even though exposure may only last a brief amount of time, temporary or permanent damage is possible.

In most cases, damage will occur over time. Sounds less than 75 dB will not cause hearing loss, but anything over 85 dB may be harmful to our ears. Common sources of noises over 75 dB include music and live events, power tools such as chainsaws or leaf blowers, or even car horns in traffic.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea doesn’t only affect your sleep, it also increases your risk of losing your hearing due to the effects of the vascular supply to the inner ear. In a recent study conducted by the American Thoracic Society, people with sleep apnea had a 31 percent increased risk of high frequency impairment and 90 percent had an increased risk of low frequency hearing impairment.

Diabetes

High blood glucose levels that are found in people with diabetes can damage vessels in the stria vascularis and nerves. If you have diabetes, it is wise to schedule regular hearing tests with your physician.

Smoking

Due to smoking’s effect on vascular supply to the auditory system, smoking can cause hearing loss in both smokers and people who live with smokers.

Use of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen

Pain relievers like ibuprofen can reduce blood flow to the cochlea, which can lead to impaired hearing. They can also impact the structures that protect the cochlea.

Popping Ears

Popping your ears on an airplane or in an elevator might make your ears feel better, but the pressure can result in a torn ear drum and damaged hearing.

How is Hearing Loss Diagnosed and Treated?

If you notice that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, don’t panic. It could be caused by NIHL, impacted ear wax, an ear infection, or some other source. An experienced Ear Nose and Throat doctor like those at Southern California Ear, Nose, & Throat will perform several tests to determine what is causing the issue.

If hearing loss does occur, it can be treated, but not completely cured. Southern California Ear, Nose, & Throat in Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Torrance, Newport Beach, and Huntington Beach CA will be able to offer suggestions to prevent further hearing loss and may fit you with a hearing aid if necessary.

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To our patients and families,

We at Southern California Ear Nose & Throat hope you all are staying healthy and safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.  As your physicians, your health and safety are our primary concerns, and we encourage everyone’s compliance with relevant instructions from our government and physician leaders.

We are happy to report that we are in compliance with state and federal regulations and recommendations at this point in time to protect both you and our staff. We are not scheduling routine elective surgeries at this time; however, if there is a surgery that is necessary, we are available 24/7 as usual, and the surgery will be performed.

At our offices, we are scheduling routine patients at intervals such that those patients who wish to, may remain in their vehicles until it is time to be placed in an exam room.  Rooms will be treated between each patient with disinfectant. We will be taking temperatures of patients who want to be seen in the office, and screening questions will be asked.

Along with our continuing to see patients in our office, we are available by teleconference. While not every visit can be done via telemedicine, we will make every attempt to accommodate those who desire a telemedicine visit. It may well be that you are not sure if an in office visit is necessary; some visits are (like a child born with tongue tie who has feeding difficulty), while many visits can be postponed (like a routine check on ear tubes).  If you have any questions, please call the office so that we may guide you.

As usual, please do not hesitate to contact the office for refills and prescriptions as necessary.

As many of you may have heard, there is new data to suggest that the initial symptoms of COVID-19 may be a loss of taste and smell. In the event that you develop loss of taste or smell, please contact the office of your primary healthcare provider if you have these symptoms, as they are more able to determine if COVID-19 testing is appropriate. We will be available by teleconference to assist your primary healthcare provider should the need arise.  

In terms of audiology, Hearing aid fittings and adjustments will continue to be done. A separate entrance to the office in Long Beach will be used for these patients, and some patients may be seen at out Los Alamitos office so as to separate them in time and space from other patients, maintaining social distancing to the best of our abilities.

In general, we urge all our patients to get as much sleep as necessary and drink plenty of fluids. It is important to wash your hands with regular soap and water Try not to touch your nose and mouth.

If you are able, please consider blood donation at your nearest hospital as there is a national shortage!

We must all work together during these stressful times! 

Sincerely

SCENT

Nina Yoshpe MD, Ayal Willner MD, Namrata Varma DO, Christy Beranek PA, Garrett Sherman NP, Susan Eckhardt AuD