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Author: admin, 21.04.2015
What causes hearing loss?Losing your hearing is a normal and inevitable part of the ageing process.
Action on Hearing Loss: Enjoy the sparks but avoid the ringing in your ears this bonfire night. Michael Rothschild, MD, director, pediatric otolaryngology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health.
To provide even greater transparency and choice, we are working on a number of other cookie-related enhancements. Noise levels louder than a shouting match can damage parts of our inner ears called hair cells. A­When you hear exceptionally loud noises, your stereocilia become damaged and mistakenly keep sending sound information to the auditory nerve cells.
Read on to find out exactly how something invisible like sound can harm our ears, how you can protect those precious hair cells and what happens when the ringing never stops. Please note: If you have a promotional code you'll be prompted to enter it prior to confirming your order.
If you subscribe to any of our print newsletters and have never activated your online account, please activate your account below for online access. Various herbs and other supplements have been touted for their ability to improve cholesterol levels.
As you've gotten older, have you noticed that you often find yourself marching around the house in a huff, searching for misplaced car keys or eyeglasses, or you just cannot remember the name of that new neighbor you met when walking the dog? The way you live, what you eat and drink, and how you treat your body can affect your memory just as much as your physical health and well-being. Hip and knee pain can keep you from the activities you love, as well as make routine tasks difficult. Watching the sugar in your diet can help you control your weight and potentially avoid serious chronic health problems — for example, heart disease and diabetes.
The body systems responsible for balance can be affected by gradual changes due to aging or side effects of medications.
If a growth or mole looks like a melanoma, the doctor will take a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Alzheimer's disease is characterized by progressive damage to nerve cells and their connections. It might seem like retirement is a time to take it easy and devote yourself to gardening, golfing, and napping. What if men approached their health at midlife the same way that financial experts advise them to plan for retirement? Sleep shortfalls can lead to a range of health problems, from being more likely to catch a cold or gain weight to increased risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. Constant noise in the head -- such as ringing in the ears -- rarely indicates a serious health problem, but it sure can be annoying. Tinnitus (pronounced tih-NITE-us or TIN-ih-tus) is sound in the head with no external source.
Almost everyone has had tinnitus for a short time after being exposed to extremely loud noise. While there's no cure for chronic tinnitus, it often becomes less noticeable and more manageable over time. Sound waves travel through the ear canal to the middle and inner ear, where hair cells in part of the cochlea help transform sound waves into electrical signals that then travel to the brain's auditory cortex via the auditory nerve. Most people who seek medical help for tinnitus experience it as subjective, constant sound, and most have some degree of hearing loss.
Tinnitus can arise anywhere along the auditory pathway, from the outer ear through the middle and inner ear to the brain's auditory cortex, where it's thought to be encoded (in a sense, imprinted). Most tinnitus is "sensorineural," meaning that it's due to hearing loss at the cochlea or cochlear nerve level. I am constantly astounded at the number of people at events who are aware of how hard it is to talk, who leave events early, who complain in general because they are hoarse from shouting over the music, but never say anything to the club, the restaurant, the organizer, etc. Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) says more than 70% of people over the age of 70 have some degree of hearing loss. It is intended for general information purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. In the case of rock concerts and fireworks displays, the ringing happens because the tips of some of your stereocilia actually have broken off. For many, it's a ringing sound, while for others, it's whistling, buzzing, chirping, hissing, humming, roaring, or even shrieking. You can help ease the symptoms by educating yourself about the condition — for example, understanding that it's not dangerous.


When hair cells are damaged — by loud noise or ototoxic drugs, for example — the circuits in the brain don't receive the signals they're expecting. Things that cause hearing loss (and tinnitus) include loud noise, medications that damage the nerves in the ear (ototoxic drugs), impacted earwax, middle ear problems (such as infections and vascular tumors), and aging.
One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to the hair cells in the cochlea (see "Auditory pathways and tinnitus"). However, while many of us will experience gradual loss of hearing over the years, noise exposure at home, work or leisure can also cause impairment.
It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. The noises around you were muffled briefly, replaced with a buzzing inside your head, almost as if your ears were screaming.
When sound waves hit them, they convert those vibrations into electrical currents that our auditory nerves carry to the brain.
When sound waves travel through the ears and reach the hair cells, the vibrations deflect off the stereocilia, causing them to move according to the force and pitch of the vibration. Some medications (especially aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs taken in high doses) can cause tinnitus that goes away when the drug is discontinued. For example, if you have a heart murmur, you may hear a whooshing sound with every heartbeat; your clinician can also hear that sound through a stethoscope.
In about 10% of cases, the condition interferes with everyday life so much that professional health is needed.
This stimulates abnormal activity in the neurons, which results in the illusion of sound, or tinnitus. Tinnitus can also be a symptom of Meniere's disease, a disorder of the balance mechanism in the inner ear.
Our bodies normally produce sounds (called somatic sounds) that we usually don't notice because we are listening to external sounds. It's estimated that 10 million people in the UK – that's one in six - have some level of hearing loss. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the BootsWebMD Site.
Without hair cells, there is nothing for the sound to bounce off, like trying to make your voice echo in the desert. For instance, a melodic piano tune would produce gentle movement in the stereocilia, while heavy metal would generate faster, sharper motion.
However, since you can grow these small tips back in about 24 hours, the ringing is often temporary [source: Preuss].
Many people can hear their heartbeat — a phenomenon called pulsatile tinnitus — especially as they grow older, because blood flow tends to be more turbulent in arteries whose walls have stiffened with age. If the auditory pathways or circuits in the brain don't receive the signals they're expecting from the cochlea, the brain in effect "turns up the gain" on those pathways in an effort to detect the signal — in much the same way that you turn up the volume on a car radio when you're trying to find a station's signal. Loud noise at workExposure to continuous loud noise during your working day can make you permanently hard of hearing in the long term.
This motion triggers an electrochemical current that sends the information from the sound waves through the auditory nerves to the brain.
As many as 50 to 60 million people in the United States suffer from this condition; it's especially common in people over age 55 and strongly associated with hearing loss. Pulsatile tinnitus may be more noticeable at night, when you're lying in bed, because more blood is reaching your head, and there are fewer external sounds to mask the tinnitus. The resulting electrical noise takes the form of tinnitus — a sound that is high-pitched if hearing loss is in the high-frequency range and low-pitched if it's in the low-frequency range.
Jobs that are hazardous to hearing include construction, the military, mining, manufacturing, farming or transportation. Many people worry that tinnitus is a sign that they are going deaf or have another serious medical problem, but it rarely is. If you notice any new pulsatile tinnitus, you should consult a clinician, because in rare cases it is a sign of a tumor or blood vessel damage. This kind of tinnitus resembles phantom limb pain in an amputee — the brain is producing abnormal nerve signals to compensate for missing input. The Health and Safety Executive says employers have a duty to protect employees from hearing loss.
Injury damage or pressure changesTrauma to the head can impact the ear and cause permament hearing loss. Sudden pressure changes, like scuba diving or flying, can also harm the eardrum, middle ear or inner ear. While eardrums may take a few weeks to get better, serious inner ear damage may require an operation. These are called ototoxic drugs, which may cause damage to the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss, balance problems and tinnitus.


Antibiotics linked to possible permanant hearing loss include: gentamicin, streptomycin and neomycin. Chronic diseaseSome chronic diseases that are not directly linked to ear issues may trigger hearing loss.
Some types of hearing loss are also linked to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. How you hear – anatomy of the earSound causes the eardrum and its tiny attached bones in the middle part of the ear to vibrate. The spiral-shaped cochlea in the inner ear transforms sound into nerve impulses that travel to the brain. The fluid-filled semicircular canals attach to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear and send information on balance and head position to the brain.
Growths and tumoursHearing loss can be caused by benign, non-cancerous growths, such as osteomas, exostoses or polyps that block the ear canal.
A large neuroma can cause headaches, facial pain or numbness, lack of limb coordination and tinnitus.
Loud bangs!Remember, remember the 5th of November – but also remember to take care of your ears on Bonfire Night! Exposure to loud noise over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss and while fireworks are lovely to watch, some can break that sound limit with a searing 155 decibels. Gunshots and other explosive noises also pack a punch to your ear, in some cases rupturing eardrums or causing damage to the inner ear.
Loud concerts and tinnitusThat loud buzzing sound in the ears after a loud concert is called tinnitus. The average rock concert exposes you to sound as loud as 110 decibles which can do permamant damage after just 15 minutes. Other noises that break the 85 decibel range and risk permanent hearing loss include power tools, chain saws and leaf blowers.
Prevent tinnitus and potential hearing loss, which can last days, months or years by using earplugs and limiting noise exposure. Personal music playersIf other people can hear the music you're listening to through your earphones, you may be at risk of permanent hearing loss. A recent survey revealed that over 92% of young people listen to music on a personal player or mobile phone. Recent EU standards limited the sound on these devices to 85 decibels, but many listeners plan to override the new default volume – saying they want to wipe out background noise.
Action for Hearing Loss suggests using noise-cancelling headphones rather than pressing override and risking lifelong damage to your hearing. EarwaxIt may be yucky and unsightly but earwax does serve a useful purpose, protecting the ear canal from dirt and bacteria. However, if earwax builds up and hardens, it can dull your hearing and give you an earache. If you feel your ears are clogged, see your GP or nurse who may suggest olive oil drops to soften and disperse the wax.
Don't be tempted to do it yourself with a cotton bud – or any other implement - which only risks damage to the ear. Childhood illnessChildren are susceptible to ear infections, which are among many childhood illnesses that can cause hearing loss. Usually, infections that fill the middle ear with fluid cause only temporary hearing loss but some may cause harm to the middle or inner ear and lead to permanent hearing loss. Illnesses linked to hearing loss in children include chickenpox, influenza, measles, meningitis, encephalitis and mumps.
Born with hearing lossIn the UK, one or two babies in every thousand are born with significant hearing loss. Although congenital hearing loss often runs in families, it can also be triggered by an infection in the mother during pregnancy.
Hearing loss can also develop after lack of oxygen or trauma at birth, or if a newborn is premature.
AgeRegardless of how you protect your ears, getting older reduces your hearing as you gradually lose inner ear hair cells. If you are struggling to hear and it is affecting your quality of life, go to your GP or NHS clinic to arrange a hearing test.




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