10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Hearing

Our ears are amazing tools, allowing us to hear a myriad of sounds that surround us every minute of every day. To learn more about how our ears work, here are 10 facts you didn’t know about hearing.

Your Hearing Depends On Tiny Hairs

That’s right! You have tiny hairs deep inside your ear that collect and relay sound. These hair cells cannot be replaced, so if you lose or damage them, you lose your hearing. Scientists are currently studying how to regrow and replace these but for now, it’s important for everyone to avoid activities that could damage their hair cells, like listening to loud music for too long.

Your Ears Still Listen When You Sleep

Your ears never stop hearing. Even when you are sleeping, your brain listens. The reason you don’t wake up is because your brain filters out what sounds are important and ignores the ones you don’t need to worry about. 

Ear Wax Buildup Can Cause Hearing Loss

Your ear produces wax to protect the ear from foreign objects, bacteria, infection and injury, but too much wax can become an issue. Sometimes the wax can buildup, making it difficult to hear properly. If this is the case, you should contact your doctor to have your ears properly cleaned out and resist putting anything into your ear canal like a cotton bud. Putting a cotton bud into your canal will only push the wax further down cause serious harm to the eardrum and inner ear. 

Many People Are Born With Hearing Loss

In Canada, there are more than 2,000 children born with hearing loss every year. The term for birth-related hearing loss is congenital hearing loss. In most cases, it’s caused by genetic factors but there are instances where birth defects developed in the uterus can be the cause. 

Our Hearing Naturally Diminishes As We Age

Our hearing slowly weakens as we age. Changes to the inner ear, changes along the nerve pathways to the brain and gradual loss of the hair cells are the most common causes of age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis. However, many factors can also contribute to hearing loss as we age, including long-term noise exposure and health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. And since it happens gradually and usually occurs in both ears, most people don’t realize they have hearing impairment until someone else notices first.  To date, there is no preventative treatment, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your ears from loud noises and unnecessary injury.

Infections and Illness Can Cause Hearing Loss

Infections that develop in the uterus during pregnancy can lead to hearing loss in infants and many childhood illnesses such as meningitis and measles can lead to permanent loss. Scientists have also found that a number of diseases can also cause hearing loss as we age including autoimmune disease, heart disease and diabetes. 

Low Academic Performance Can Be a Sign of Hearing Loss

If your child cannot hear their teacher properly, they will likely struggle in school and might develop slower than others their age. Low academic performance can be a sign of hearing loss in school-aged children. If your child has poor grades or is underperforming against their peers, make sure to have their hearing checked by a doctor.

There’s a Link Between Dementia and Hearing Loss

Scientists have found that when we strain to listen for prolonged periods of time, it can cause damage to the neural pathways in the brain. This is why people who have hearing issues are more at risk of developing dementia and impaired cognitive function. In fact, the risk of dementia is twice as high for those who have mild hearing loss.

Most Hearing Loss Can Be Treated with Hearing Aids

Hearing aids help to make sounds louder, so even those with severe hearing loss can be treated with specialized hearing aids. In the event that the individual has profound hearing loss, a cochlear implant may be the only option to help improve hearing at this stage. Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that get surgically implanted into the inner ear to provide a sense of sound to those who are profoundly deaf.

The Sooner You Get Treatment, the Better

Most people don’t realize that they have any hearing loss until the damage has become serious and the signs have become obvious. If the symptoms are left undiagnosed, they will eventually start to interfere with daily communication and even relationships. So the sooner you get a hearing test, the faster you can get treatment. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with hearing loss, it’s time to act. Hearing loss can have a significant impact on the quality of your life – but it doesn’t have to. Schedule your next appointment today and come see us at The Hearing Clinic. We’ll find out what’s causing your hearing loss and provide you with a solution that works for you.