Hearing loss

Hearing impairment, deafness, or hearing loss refers to the total or partial inability to hear sounds. Some people are severely deaf and rely on lip-reading to communicate with others. People who are deaf can hear nothing at all and can find themselves totally reliant on lip-reading or sign language.

Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include:

  • Muffling of speech and other sounds
  • Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd of people
  • Trouble hearing consonants
  • Frequently 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

Causes:

Some diseases or circumstances that can cause deafness include:

  • chicken pox
  • cytomegalovirus
  • mumps
  • meningitis
  • sickle cell disease
  • syphilis
  • lyme disease
  • diabetes, as studies have shown that people with diabetes are more likely to have some kind of hearing loss 
  • a treatment for tuberculosis (TB), streptomycin, that is believed to be a key risk factor
  • hypothyroidism
  • arthritis
  • some cancers
  • teenagers exposed to second-hand smoke