An audiologist is the best partner an individual can have when it comes to addressing the topic of hearing loss. They are professionally equipped to investigate, diagnose and treat all cases of hearing loss, from mild to profound. They can also provide information on prevention, management, and much more.

The experience of hearing loss differs from person to person, often depending on the specific cause. Some causes of hearing loss are immediate and sudden. Others experience hearing loss making itself clear over time. This is known as gradual hearing loss. If you are experiencing gradual hearing loss, you may be wondering what you can do to recover from it or reverse it. Here, we’re going to look more closely at gradual hearing loss, what you need to know about it, and if you can recover from it.

Causes of gradual hearing loss

Gradual hearing loss is experienced differently from sudden hearing loss and congenital hearing loss. As the name suggests, gradual hearing loss occurs over time. Here are the two most common causes to be aware of:

  • Age: Also known as presbycusis, age-related hearing loss is the gradual loss of hearing that occurs naturally with age, and it one of the most common conditions experienced by older adults and the elderly. There may be a hereditary component, too, and it tends to occur due to changes in the shape of the inner ear and changes to the auditory nerve that come with age.
  • Noise exposure: Another of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to unsafe levels of noise. Any noises above 70 dB, which is the noise level produced by a lawnmower for reference, can cause either temporary or permanent damage. They can damage both the hair cells in the ears responsible for picking up sound as well as the nerves in the ear. The louder the noise or the greater the period of exposure, the greater the likelihood of hearing loss.

The symptoms of hearing loss caused by either of these are roughly the same. If you experience any of the following, an audiologist can help you get to the bottom of the issue and diagnose whether or not hearing loss is at the root of it:

  • Speech and other sounds seem muffled or distant.
  • You have difficulty understanding speech.
  • Any hearing difficulties are exacerbated by background noise or crowds.
  • Consonants are hard to hear.
  • You find yourself needing to turn up the volume of television or radio, to the point that others may complain about it.
  • You regularly need to ask people to speak more slowly or clearly.

Can you recover from gradual hearing loss?

There are some causes of hearing loss that are temporary. Loud noises can cause a temporary hearing loss that may go away after a day. Similarly, hearing loss caused by blockages such as earwax and infections can be treated and eliminated, restoring your hearing. However, there is no way to cure or reverse the gradual hearing loss associated with the two causes mentioned above. As such, if you are experiencing gradual hearing loss, it is important that you work with your audiologist to prevent further hearing loss and to protect the hearing that you have left.

What can you do?

Hearing loss can be prevented. If you have been diagnosed with gradual hearing loss, your audiologist will most likely provide plenty of information and may even recommend products that can help you prevent hearing loss. Here are some of the tips that you need to keep in mind:

•    Avoid loud noises where possible. If you’re worried about the decibel level of noise, you can get smartphone apps that can measure noise levels.
•    Wear ear protection, such as earmuffs or custom earplugs that can be made with the help of an audiologist.
•    Be careful when listening to music, using noise-canceling earphones or headphones instead of turning up the volume to block the outside world.
•    Get your hearing tested by an audiologist to better understand your hearing health.

Take the right actions with the help of your audiologist

You may not be able to recover any gradual hearing loss that does not have a clear physical cause, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do about it. Audiologists, such as those at Hinderliter Hearing Services, can help you better understand the condition, including your full range of hearing, and provide help on preventing further hearing loss. To learn more about what we can do or to arrange an appointment, don’t hesitate to call at (248) 430-7353.