Hearing is easy to take for granted, but when we start to lose our ability to hear sounds, it can be distressing and challenging. The good news is that hearing loss is avoidable by adopting the right habits in your lifestyle and even after the hearing is lost, it can be improved considerably with a hearing aid. Here are groups most likely to experience hearing loss at some point.

Older People

People over fifty are likely to experience some hearing loss due to a range of factors. Changes to the inner ear and the loss of cilia hairs are part of the reason, thanks to the cumulative impact of external noise. Other factors include genetic factors, medications and health conditions.

Someone over fifty who starts to lose the ability to hear high-frequency sounds is probably experiencing age-related hearing loss. While this is normal and to be expected, there are some interventions and responses. The most common solution is an external hearing aid device that can be fitted by a hearing health professional; these devices are common in people of all ages.

Loud Noise Exposure

The inner ear is lined with tiny hair cells called cilia that transduce sound from the external environment into the inner ear. These hair cells are delicate and can be damaged by loud noises; once they are damaged or disappear with age, people start to lose their hearing.

What exactly qualifies as harmful loud noise? A whisper is 30 decibels, normal conversation is 60 decibels and a gunshot is 140 decibels. Another over 70 decibels for a prolonged period is harmful to the cilia. Many everyday devices like washing machines and dishwashers are 70 decibels.

Medical Conditions

People with medical conditions are often at risk of experiencing hearing loss as well. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, brain injuries, bacteria and viruses and some tumors can correlate with hearing loss. The latest research suggests that medical conditions correlate with hearing loss rather than cause it, but they still exist simultaneously. For this reason, there are higher incidences of hearing loss in groups of people with medical conditions, such as people over fifty years old.


People who use medication temporarily or permanently might experience some hearing loss. Medications that affect hearing quality include antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, pain relievers like aspirin and medications for certain heart and kidney conditions. The effects vary widely.

Medications that affect hearing quality are called ototoxic medications. When someone starts taking ototoxic medications, their hearing, balance or both can be affected after a short time. Someone might experience tinnitus, and some vertigo as the medication affects the cochlea.

Hearing loss is more common in the groups of people listed above, but the truth is that hearing loss can affect people of any age and disposition.

To avoid hearing loss at any stage of life, remove yourself from loud environments or wear earplugs, also have your hearing checked regularly by a hearing health professional and play your devices at a reasonable decibel level, under 70 decibels.

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