Unexpected Causes of Hearing Loss

Unexpected Causes of Hearing Loss

Robert Weissman, Au.D., B.C.A., CCC-AUncategorized

Robert Weissman, Au.D., B.C.A., CCC-A

Hearing loss affects one out of every ten people in the United States. Various factors can cause hearing loss, but one of the most common causes is noise exposure.

We are often unaware of how much noise we are subjected to regularly that could impair our hearing.

What effect does noise have on our hearing?

Loud noise can damage your hair cells, membranes, and nerves, among other parts of your ears. It can be particularly harmful to the cochlea, which houses the thousands of delicate hair cells responsible for picking up sound.

Sound waves enter the cochlea and cause the hair cells to vibrate. When these hair cells are exposed to loud noise, they bend or fold over briefly. This is why your hearing can be temporarily impaired after leaving a loud concert, sporting event, or movie. Noise is muffled, your ears ring, and you may not be able to hear soft sounds. These hair cells will usually recover in a short period, and your hearing will come back.

After being exposed to loud sounds, hair cells need time to recover. Constantly being exposed to loud sounds, on the other hand, will damage the hair cells, causing them to lose sensitivity or even die. Unlike other types of cells (such as skin cells), hair cells do not regenerate. The hearing loss is irreversible. 

Some unexpected causes of hearing loss

The majority of hearing loss is caused by aging and noise exposure. Although we might think of impulse noises like explosions as the primary source of noise, the truth is that traditional sources of high-level (but not earsplitting) noise is more likely to be the source of the problem. Let’s look at a few of these sound sources. 

Restaurants and bars

While it might seem like you haven’t had a typical restaurant experience in years, the damage might already be done from your pre-pandemic visits. Bars and restaurants are noisier than you think – the average restaurant noise level is 80 decibels, but some have reached 110 decibels. Although customers aren’t exposed to excessive noise for long periods, wait, and kitchen workers are exposed to it for up to eight hours at a time. 


Earbuds and headphones have become a popular way to listen to music, watch videos, and listen to podcasts. But used excessively, earbuds can hurt your hearing health.

Earbuds are especially dangerous because they allow you to channel sounds right to your eardrum. Chronic noise exposure is one of the causes of hearing loss. As a result, the constant projection of sound from your earbuds at high volumes may damage your hearing.

Keep an eye on your prescription as well.

While there isn’t a miracle drug that can improve your hearing, there are several drugs that can harm your hearing, mainly if used for a prolonged period. Ototoxic medications have side effects that can permanently or temporarily affect your hearing.

Those taking ototoxic medications should keep a close eye on their hearing and have a hearing test once a year to check for hearing loss. Never stop taking a drug or change the dose without consulting your doctor first. If you’re worried about ototoxic results from a prescription you’re taking, talk to your doctor about whether there are any other choices.

Protect your hearing in the following ways

Knowing when an environment is too noisy and taking preventative steps is a safe way to protect your hearing from NIHL. 

For instance, if you know, you’ll be going somewhere noisy until we’re able to gather again, pick up a pair of earplugs from the drugstore during the week and keep them with your other necessities. Then, if the noise becomes too much for you, you’ll be prepared.

Annual hearing tests with us is another essential way to keep your hearing healthy. We will provide you a detailed diagnosis of your hearing capacity and offer a wealth of knowledge about treating or preventing hearing loss. Contact us today to set up an appointment.