Many of us know that hearing loss can happen to us naturally as we age, or we can be genetically predisposed. Also, not wearing ear protection while exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period of time also can do damage to our sensitive ears. Incidents of this nature are what we typically think of when we think of hearing loss and how it develops, but there is also another culprit responsible.
While hearing loss can be genetic and can be caused by damage to the ear, there are also diseases that can cause hearing loss. Protect yourself and your ears by learning more about some of the diseases of hearing loss.
Considered to be an inner ear disorder, Meniere’s disease is not uncommon among men and women. A chronic condition, Meniere’s disease is a debilitating ailment that causes a loss of balance, tinnitus, nausea, dizziness, and can make a person’s ears feel “full.” Interfering with the flow of fluid in the inner ear, the build-up of fluid disrupts a person’s balance and negatively affects their hearing. Luckily, there are medications available to help make this disease more “livable.” Medications such as antihistamines and prochlorperazine are typically prescribed to help control the symptoms of this disease.
A rare inherited disease that affects both sight and hearing, those who suffer from Usher’s syndrome are born with a certain degree of hearing loss. While the severity of this disease can vary from person to person, patients not only suffer from hearing loss but also suffer from progressive visual loss caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa. This genetic disease causes abnormalities in the ears and is broken down into three types. With type 1 defined as those who are born deaf, while those born with moderate hearing loss are classified as a type 2. Those who are born with normal hearing that gradually decreases over time are classified as a type 3. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Usher’s syndrome, and the common treatment options include cochlear implants and hearing aids.
Considered to be one of the most common causes of hearing loss in young adults, otosclerosis is caused by abnormal bone growth in the ear. While this condition is generally inherited, isolated cases do occur, and it can affect one or both of the ears. Otosclerosis affects the three small bones found in the middle ear and causes it to grow abnormally, preventing the bones from being able to vibrate normally in response to sound. Due to this, hearing loss is gradual and is not immediately evident during the early stages of this disease. Luckily, there are a few treatment options for this condition. Cochlear implants and hearing aids can be utilized to help reverse hearing loss, or a stapedectomy can be performed to help restore hearing.