8 Questions About Hearing Loss You’re Too Afraid To Ask

Asking questions about health-related things can be difficult, especially if you think that you should know it already.

Many of my patients first turn to Google to find out the answer to these questions which can only make things worse. For instance, the last time I searched for what aches and a fever could mean, I was given everything from “it’s just a cold” to “you have malaria” which is a bit of a wide range.

There’s so much conflicting information and access to information available now that we thought we’d spend this week talking about 8 common questions we get all the time from patients.

Is hearing loss a symptom or side effect of COVID-19?

In the last few years, this has been a very common concern for patients. The short answer to this question is no. The longer answer is that according to the CDC, the side effects of contracting the COVID-19 have a wide range of ongoing health problems, from neurological to gastrointestinal. 

That being said, these have all been self-reported and there is no clear link or pattern that states that hearing loss can be attributed directly to having COVID-19.

Can hearing loss cause headaches?

Hearing loss in and of itself cannot cause a headache. However, there might be medical causes of hearing loss that also cause headaches. For instance, if you are diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), side effects in very severe cases can also include hearing loss. This is because of damage to the blood vessels in the ear as well as potential increase in headaches. If you are suffering from a persistent headache and also hearing loss, you should make an appointment with an ENT.

What level of hearing loss is considered a disability?

This is a difficult question as it depends on what one means by disability. Anyone with hearing loss is considered to have an impairment or disability and there are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations specifically designed to protect people with hearing loss. In this instance, having a formal diagnosis would help protect you from discrimination in the workplace. 

Whether you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a different matter. The definition of what would qualify for monthly supplemental income due to disability varies from state to state. For more information, check out the SSA website.

Why does hearing loss happen w/ age?

The most common form of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, is caused by the damage to the small hair cells in the inner ear. Like the rest of your body, your ears age too. As you get older, those hair cells can die and they will not regrow or replenish. There is no way as of yet to reverse this effect though there are ways to support and protect your hearing. Check out our blog on that here.

Can hearing loss be temporary?

Hearing loss that occurs over a long period of time in most cases is not temporary or reversible though that depends on the type of hearing loss.

If your hearing loss came on because of a cold or virus, assuming you get treatment quickly you should recover a majority of your hearing ability if not all of it. However, in the case of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL), time is of the utmost importance. If you already have a hearing care professional you’re working with, contact them immediately and tell them what is going on and that you’re experiencing sudden hearing loss.

Does hearing loss cause dementia?

The hearing loss itself does not really cause cognitive decline. It can also speed up decline or reinforce behaviors that lead to it such as social isolation. Find out more about the mental side effects of hearing loss in our blog post, Side Effects of Hearing Loss (Part 1): Hearing and Mental Health.

Is hearing loss genetic?

Some types of hearing loss are genetic. Research has identified that there are more than 400 types of genetic disorders that can cause hearing loss though most of these are present at birth. It’s just one piece of the more giant puzzle though as Boston Medical writes that “inherited genetic defects are just one factor that can lead to hearing loss and deafness”. 

Other environmental factors including ototoxic medications, consistent exposure to loud noises, and more also play a huge part in developing hearing loss.

Do I have enough hearing loss for a hearing aid?

If you have any hearing loss significant enough to interfere with your quality of life, then yes, you could benefit from a hearing aid. Even someone with mild hearing loss can get a lot of good from using a hearing aid, though they might not be as noticeable compared to someone with more severe hearing loss. Using a hearing aid may help you feel less tired at the end of the day as you’re not using as much cognitive effort to listen.

Conclusion

Do you have any other questions on your mind? 

Leave a comment below and get an answer you can count on.

 

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