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About thirty million Americans have some hearing loss.

Hearing loss may not be apparent for years. But once it happens, it is permanent.

Factors that may damage or lead to loss of the hairs and nerve cells in your inner ear include:

The normal wear and tear from sounds over the years can damage the cells of your inner ear. Of our seven senses, hearing is most commonly affected as we age. About one fourth of people between 65 and 74 years old and one-half of people age 75 and older experience some trouble with hearing.

Loud noises.
Occupational noise, such as from construction or factory work, and recreational noise, such as from loud music, the engine of a snowmobile or motorcycle, or shooting firearms, can contribute to the damage inside your ear. Researchers fear the growing popularity of portable music players and other items that attach directly to the ears — including cell phones — is contributing to hearing loss in younger people. Experts at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota say any sound above ninety decibels for long periods may cause some hearing loss. One third of the 30 million people with hearing loss lost their hearing as a result of loud noises.

Your genetic makeup may make you more susceptible to ear damage.
Some medications.

such as the antibiotic gentamicin can damage the inner ear. For example, temporary effects on your hearing — ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or hearing loss — can occur if you take very high doses of aspirin.

Some illnesses.
Diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include:

Muffled quality of speech and other sounds
Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd of people
Asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio
Withdrawal from conversations
Avoidance of some social settings

The Social Aspects of Hearing Loss

Many relationships have suffered because of the anger that occurs when there is general miscommunication between family members. Generally, it's not only the person with a hearing disability that feels isolated, but others around them who feel they are not being "heard" or paid attention to, especially when the hearing loss has been gradual. Many people opt not to choose hearing aids for fear of looking old, since hearing loss is usually associated with old age and that in turn equals ineffectiveness in our society. Family members then feel as if their hearing loss partner doesn't care about them enough to make changes to reduce their disability and make it easier to communicate. ilene, webmaster ***

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Thanx for the info ileneraku!

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