There are many causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss may be caused by a number of factors, including: genetics, ageing, exposure to loud noise, some infections, birth complications, trauma (injury) to the ear, and certain medications (drugs) or toxins. A frequent condition that results in hearing loss is chronic ear infections. Certain infections during pregnancy such as rubella (measles) may also cause problems. Hearing loss is diagnosed when a hearing test finds that a person is unable to hear 25 decibels in at least one ear. Testing for poor hearing is recommended for all newborns. Hearing loss may be categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.
Half of all hearing loss is preventable. This includes by immunization, proper care around pregnancy, avoiding loud noise, and avoiding certain medications. The World Health Organization recommends that young people limit their use of personal audio players (MP3) to an hour a day in an effort to limit exposure to loud noise. Early identification and support are particularly important in children. For many hearing aids, sign language, cochlear implants and subtitles are useful. Lip reading is another useful skill some develop. Access to hearing aids, however, is limited in many poor areas of the world.
As of 2013 hearing loss affects about 1.1 billion people to some degree. It causes disability in 5% (360 to 538 million) and moderate to severe disability in 124 million people. Of those with moderate to severe disability 108 million live in low and middle income countries. Of those with hearing loss it began in 65 million during childhood. Those who use sign language and are members of Deaf culture see themselves as having a difference rather than an illness. Most members of Deaf culture oppose attempts to cure deafness and some within this community view cochlear implants with concern as they have the potential to eliminate their culture. The term hearing impairment is often viewed negatively as it emphasizes what people cannot do.
Noise is the cause of approximately half all hearing loss, causing some degree of problems in 5% of the population globally. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recognizes that the majority of hearing loss is not due to age, but due to loud noise exposure.
Hearing loss due to loud noise may be temporary, called a 'temporary threshold shift', a reduced sensitivity to sound over a wide frequency range resulting from exposure to a brief but very loud noise like a gunshot, firecracker, jet engine, jackhammer, etc. or to exposure to loud sound over a few hours such as during a pop concert or nightclub session. Recovery of hearing is usually within 24 hours, but may take up to a week. Serial exposure to very loud sounds may eventually result in a permanent loss of hearing. Extremely loud sounds may cause instant and permanent hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) typically manifests as elevated hearing thresholds (i.e. less sensitivity or muting) between 3000 and 6000 Hz, centered at 4000 Hz. As noise damage progresses, damage spreads to affect lower and higher frequencies. On an audiogram, the resulting configuration has a distinctive notch, called a 'noise' notch. As aging and other effects contribute to higher frequency loss (6–8 kHz on an audiogram), this notch may be obscured and entirely disappear.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified the level of 70 dB(A) (40% louder to twice as loud as normal conversation; typical level of TV, radio, stereo; city street noise) for 24‑hour exposure as the level necessary to protect the public from hearing loss and other disruptive effects from noise, such as sleep disturbance, stress-related problems, learning detriment, etc. Populations living near airports or freeways are exposed to levels of noise typically in the 65 to 75 dB(A) range. If lifestyles include significant outdoor or open window conditions, these exposures over time can degrade hearing.
The Louder the sound the more damage is caused in a shorter period of time. Estimation of a "safe" duration of exposure is possible using an exchange rate of 3 dB. As 3 dB represents a doubling of intensity of sound, duration of exposure must be cut in half to maintain the same energy dose. For workplace noise regulation, the "safe" daily exposure amount at 85 dB A, known as an exposure action value, is 8 hours, while the "safe" exposure at 91 dB(A) is only 2 hours. Different standards use exposure action values between 80dBA and 90dBA. (Note that for some people, sound may be damaging at even lower levels than 85 dB A.) Exposures to other ototoxins (such as pesticides, some medications including chemotherapy agents, solvents, etc.) can lead to greater susceptibility to noise damage, as well as causing their own damage. This is called a synergistic-interaction. Since loud noise damage is cumulative over long periods of time, persons who are exposed to non-workplace noise, like recreational activities or environmental noise, may have compounding damage from all sources.
Some national and international organizations and agencies use an exchange rate of 4 dB or 5 dB. While these exchange rates may indicate a wider zone of comfort or safety, they can significantly underestimate the damage caused by loud noise. For example, at 100 dB (nightclub music level), a 3 dB exchange rate would limit exposure to 15 minutes; the 5 dB exchange rate allows an hour.
Many people are unaware of the presence of environmental sound at damaging levels, or of the level at which sound becomes harmful. Common sources of damaging noise levels include car stereos, children's toys, motor vehicles, crowds, lawn and maintenance equipment, power tools, gun use, musical instruments, and even hair dryers. Noise damage is cumulative; all sources of damage must be considered to assess risk. If one is exposed to loud sound (including music) at high levels or for extended duration (85 dB A or greater), then hearing loss will occur. Sound intensity (sound energy, or propensity to cause damage to the ears) increases dramatically with proximity (distance) according to an inverse square law: halving the distance to the sound quadruples the sound intensity.
In the USA, 12.5% of children aged 6–19 years have permanent hearing damage from excessive noise exposure. The World Health Organization estimates that half of those between 12 and 35 are at risk from using personal audio devices that are too loud.
Hearing loss due to noise has been described as primarily a condition of modern society. In pre-industrial times, humans had far less exposure to loud sounds. Studies of primitive peoples indicate that much of what has been attributed to age-related hearing loss may be long term cumulative damage from all sources, especially noise. People living in pre-industrial society have considerably less hearing loss than similar populations living in modern society. Among primitive people who have migrated into modern society, hearing loss is proportional to the number of years spent in modern society. Military service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, has likely also caused hearing loss in large numbers of men from those generations, though proving hearing loss was a direct result of military service is problematic without entry and exit audiograms.
Genetic Hearing Loss
Genetic Hearing loss can be inherited. Around 75–80% of all these cases are inherited by recessive genes, 20–25% are inherited by dominant genes, 1–2% are inherited by X-linked patterns, and fewer than 1% are inherited by mitochondrial inheritance.
When looking at the genetics of deafness, there are 2 different forms, syndromic and non-syndromic. Syndromic deafness occurs when there are other signs or medical problems aside from deafness in an individual. This accounts for around 30% of deaf individuals who are deaf from a genetic standpoint. Non-syndromic deafness occurs when there are no other signs or medical problems associated with an individual other than deafness. From a genetic standpoint, this accounts for the other 70% of cases, and represents the majority of hereditary hearing loss. Syndromic cases occur with diseases such as Usher syndrome, Stickler syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, Alport's syndrome, and neurofibromatosis type 2. These are diseases that have deafness as one of the symptoms or as a common feature associated with it. Many of the genetic mutations giving rise to syndromic deafness have been identified
- Recent gene mapping has identified several nonsyndromic dominant (DFNA#) and recessive (DFNB#) forms of deafness. The most common type of congenital hearing loss in developed countries is DFNB1, also known as connexin 26 deafness or GJB2-related deafness.
- The most common dominant syndromic forms of hearing loss include Stickler syndrome and Waardenburg syndrome.
- The most common recessive syndromic forms of hearing loss are Pendred syndrome and Usher syndrome.
- The congenital defect microtia, deformed or unformed outer ear, can be associated with partial or complete conductive deafness, depending upon the severity of the deformity and whether the middle ear is also affected. It can also be associated with abnormalities of the inner ear giving rise to an additional sensorineural component to the hearing loss (mixed deafness).
- Mutations in PTPRQ are a cause of autosomal-recessive non-syndromic hearing loss.
Identification of a medical caused hearing loss is usually conducted by a general practitioner medical doctor, otolaryngologist, certified and licensed audiologist, school or industrial audiometrist, or other audiology technician. Diagnosis of the cause of a hearing loss is carried out by a specialist physician (audiovestibular physician) or otorhinolaryngologist
- for adults: between 26 and 40 dB HL
- for children: between 20 and 40 dB HL
Prevention of hearing loss
It is estimated that half of cases of hearing loss are preventable. A number of preventative strategies are effective including: immunisation against rubella to prevent congenital rubella syndrome, immunization against H. influenza and S. pneumoniae to reduce cases of meningitis, and avoiding or protecting against excessive noise exposure. The World Health Organization also recommends immunization against measles, mumps, and meningitis, efforts to prevent premature birth, and avoidance of certain medication as prevention.
Education regarding noise exposure increases the use of hearing protectors.
Workplace noise regulation
In addition, steps can be taken to avoid the production of excessive noise in the workplace. By purchasing less noisy power tools like those found on the NIOSH Power Tools Database and limiting exposure to ototoxic chemicals, great strides can be made in preventing hearing loss. Companies can also provide personal hearing protector devices tailored to both the worker and type of employment. Some hearing protectors universally block out all noise, and some allow for certain noises to be heard. Workers are more likely to wear hearing protector devices when they are properly fitted.
Better enforcement of laws can decrease levels of noise at work
- When they enter school
- At ages 6, 8, and 10
- At least once during middle school
- At least once during high school
There is not enough evidence to determine the benefit of screening in adults over 50 years old who do not have any symptoms.
So far, in addition to zinc research suggests the following may improve recovery in cases of sudden hearing loss:
In the event you experience sudden hearing loss, it's important to seek qualified medical help immediately, as it appears the sooner you receive treatment, the better your chances of recovery.
Insufficient Vitamin B-12 can cause hearing loss along with many other serious problems.
A major benefit of having enough B12 in your body is that it works to reduce levels of the toxic stress hormone homocysteine. Not only does lowering homocysteine levels make you feel less stressed, studies have shown that it also confers protection for your heart, bones, vision and hearing. [19, 20 see references below]
Vitamin B12, like its water-soluble cousin vitamin C, is widely considered safe to take in high doses, with the body simply eliminating what it can't use.
But it's important to take the methylcobalamin form of B12 to make sure you aren't missing out on this incredible opportunity to vastly improve your brain and overall health.
You can also combat decades of age-related brain loss... and begin living life on their own terms.
Based on my own personal experience, I make sure to take 5000 mcg of Sub-lingual (under the tongue) -B12, every single day, not swallowed, because it doesn't digest/absorb readily.
One of the most common forms of B12 you'll find in stores from Maine to California — and even in the B12 injections your doctor may administer — is cyanocobalamin. And there's a nasty secret hidden in the name...
Cyano-cobalamin is comprised of a cyanide molecule attached to a cobalamin (B12) molecule. Cyanide is a toxic poison that the body cannot metabolize and, over time, it can accumulate in brain tissues with disastrous results.
The effects of cyanide poisoning are similar to the effects of suffocation. That's because cyanide stops the cells of the body from being able to use oxygen, which all cells need to survive.
It's like hiking at high altitudes. You are likely to suffer from general weakness, confusion, bizarre behavior, excessive sleepiness, coma, shortness of breath, headache, dizzy spells and seizures. They're all symptoms of cyanide poisoning.
That's why I only take B12 supplement made with the methylcobalamin form of B12, which research has shown to be the safest and most effective. And don't worry, methylcobalamin B12 has no known drug interactions and has not shown any adverse effects in humans, even in very large doses.
I am 100% confident MAX-B12 5000 is the best option, from my personal experience. If you buy another product, make sure it doesn't have cyanide in it.
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In good health,
Joshua Corn, Editor-in-Chief, LIVE IN THE NOW.
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- Herbert V. Vitamin B12 in Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 17th ed. International Life Sciences Institute Press, 1996.
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com/cyanide_poisoning/page2_ em.htm#cyanide_poisoning_ symptoms
- Exposure to loud noise.
- Head trauma.
- Virus or disease.
- Autoimmune inner ear disease.
- Hearing loss that runs in the family.
- Aging (presbycusis)
- Malformation of the inner ear.
- Meniere’s Disease.